With thoroughbred racing history at stake, the last thing ABC wanted to hear was there was that something wrong with Big Brown.
Big Brown, the winner of the first two legs of the Triple Crown, was discovered to have a small quarter crack in his left-front hoof a week after running away with the Preakness Stakes. There had to be some anxious moments among the analysts and executives at ABC. The network had to be wondering that if Big Brown couldn’t race, how meaningless and disappointing it would be to televise the Belmont Stakes without the most important storyline.
Fortunately, things seem to be fine with Big Brown. He will race today, and try to become the first Triple Crown winner since
Affirmed in 1978.
The race will be televised in the Capital Region by WTEN (Ch. 10) and WTEN HD, starting at 5 p.m.
Randy Moss, who will be one of the analysts on the broadcast, was worried, at first, that there would be no Triple Crown winner.
“My first thought, to be honest with you, was a lack of surprise,” Moss said during a conference call Tuesday. “We’ve known way back before the Florida Derby that Big Brown has had some extremely problematic feet. This is not something that just popped up. We’ve said all along, even on the air, that with the enormous talent that Big Brown has, perhaps the biggest obstacle that he will face is keeping his feet at 100 percent. He made it out of the Kentucky Derby in excellent shape. Initially, he made it out of the Preakness with his feet in excellent shape.
“You’re always holding your breath with some of these minor foot injuries.”
Analyst and former jockey Jerry Bailey said if there was ever a good time for the injury to occur, it was well before the Belmont.
“I was almost kind of relieved it happened when it did, last week, that the issue arose,” Bailey said. “Had what happened last week happened today, I would have been far less optimistic. Because it happened far enough away from the race, and they had time to work on it and Mother Nature had more time to heal it, it was a good thing.”
And that sound you heard was the big sigh of relief.
LOTS OF CAMERAS
If ABC misses anything during the telecast, I will be shocked.
It will use 40 cameras to cover the race, including a rail cam.
ESPN kicks off Belmont prerace coverage at noon with the True North Handicap, Just a Game Handicap and the Woody Stephens Stakes.
For the first time, ESPN Radio will broadcast the race.
WTMM-FM (104.5) will pick up ESPN Radio’s feed at 5 p.m.
Catalon helping NBC
Andrew Catalon is going to help out NBC during its Summer Olympics coverage, although he won’t be in Beijing.
The WNYT (Ch. 13) weekend sports anchor and host of “Big Board Sports” will do play-by-play for team handball, and call the men’s sabre team fencing final during the Summer Games, which begin Aug. 8. He will call the action from New York, not Beijing.
“I’m very excited for the summer,” Catalon said. “It will be tough to be away from WNYT during Giants camp and Saratoga, it’s obviously a busy time. But I’m honored to be a part of NBC’s Olympic coverage. I’ve already begun my research, and I can’t wait for the Olympics to begin.”
new auto show
A new auto racing talk show is coming to the Capital Region.
“Up to Speed,” debuts on Sunday at 10 a.m. Mark Krosky and Dan Martin will host the show.
“Inside the NFL” has found a new cable home, it was announced Tuesday.
Showtime Networks and CBS Sports are teaming to bring the program to Showtime. “Inside the NFL” spent 31 years on HBO before it was canceled in February.
The show will be produced by CBS Sports and NFL Films, and will premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 9 p.m.
The French Open winds up this weekend on NBC. The women’s
final is today at 9 a.m., and the men’s championship will be contested at 9 a.m. Sunday. . . .
TNT begins its NASCAR coverage Sunday at 2 p.m. with the Pocono 500.
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