Television coverage

What this sport needs right now is one major television station televising action from ALL the tracks. Want to watch the fifth race at Gulfstream Park? No problem. You know where to turn. Got a bet going in the ninth at Santa Anita? Just flip on the TV, grab a cold one and enjoy the action.

But what we have now is unacceptable. No Santa Anita on TVG. No Hollywood Park or Del Mar on HRTV. The fans need a program for what channel they are going to watch the races on, not for who’s running.
TVG is doing an outstanding job with their All-Access coverage and their commentators make it interesting to turn on the television and watch live racing. I don’t agree with charging the customers a 25-cent surcharge for every wager and the fact they feel it’s necessary to charge for a live streaming video. Hey, this sport needs new fans. We should be trying to attract them, not turn them off with charges every time they turn around.
I can’t comment on HRTV because I never see it unless I am up in the press box at Santa Anita. And that’s the problem. Why in heck is HRTV on Dish Network and NOT DirecTV? Who is dropping the ball here?
I give HRTV credit for not charging customers a surcharge to bet and providing free streaming video. What if I like HRTV better than TVG and want to bet the Saratoga card? Sorry, Charlie. I have to log on to TVG for that.
C’mon, guys. Let’s get together on this.

9 thoughts on “Television coverage

  1. Your so right! Instead of getting together, it’s all about greed and who can make the most money. As far as the race track commentators go, Jeff Sigel, and Laffit Pincay, III are by far the most informative on HRTV. Jon White is so dry and boring he’d make a dead man get up from his grave to turn off the T.V. TVG has Frank Lyons who is also very good. They should all combine their efforts and have just one horse racing network that everybody can see, no matter where they live or what track they wager at.

  2. Ah, a subject I can relate to on both sides. Having over 20 years of television production experience, I get kinda critical, so excuse me if I ramble.

    It really is disappointing not to have one great horse racing channel, instead of two competitors covering the respective markets.

    TVG, backed by GemStar (owner of TV Guide, among other companies), has the corporate clout to control the market. Partnered with Fox Sports and other channels, they get maximum exposure.

    It doesn’t mean they are the best. For the most part, I find their on-air hosts weak. My blood pressure goes up when Todd Schrup plays “circus barker” to get people to sign-up and win. You see that with most of the hosts who do not have horse racing backgrounds. Obviously, their instructions are to push the TVG memberships, not horse racing.

    I do enjoy the insights offered by Frank Lyons, Simon Bray and Gary Stevens. Their resumes speak for themselves as well as their opinions. I do get the feeling that they get frustrated with the “circus barker” part of the telecasts.

    And, if I were a quarter horse player, TVG does have the best team, headed up by guru picker Les Onaka.

    I really enjoy HRTV and look forward to catching it at Santa Anita. Unfortunately, that’s the only place I can see it, since they’re not on Direct TV.

    Again, unfortunately, being affiliated with MEC/Stronach, they are tied to probably the most difficult operation and operators in horse racing. The old say, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” comes to mind, and MEC is vinegar.

    On the plus side, HRTV has a good collection of on-air talent with great insight to the game. I feel sorry for them not having a true studio to call home, having to settle for Sedona’s at Santa Anita as their on-air home.

    Add to the TV woes are networks like NBC, ABC and ESPN. While having great technical coverage and slew of reporters and commentators, they miss the mark for me.

    These channels have the greatest potential to draw viewers into becoming racing fans. They’re not doing it.

    If I wanted to know about owners backgrounds, as well as trainers and jocks, they offer a wide variety of entertainment packages to throw into their broadcasts.

    If I wanted to learn about horse racing, wagering, class levels, etc., you’ll never see it on network TV.

    All channels covering horse racing should take notes from programs for NASCAR, golf, even the Tour de France.

    Along with covering the event, the educate the viewer on different aspects of the sport. Watch those programs on a regular basis, you begin to feel like you really know the sport. When that happens, you become a better fan.

    I could go on, but I’d be beating a dead… nah, leave that one along.

  3. HI Z,You have the spirit , heart and soul of a wriaror and at the BCC you ran like one.It was the single greatest race I have ever witnessed in person or on TV.The power was amazing.You were in the zone . It was your finest moment.From a financial standpoint, the attendance at the BC would have beenabissmal, the crowds were there for you Z,I understand that they attribute the attendance was up 26% because of you. That is what a HOY is,they make the sport shine, garner publicity. BC used in online videos and advertising on both TVG and HRTV, you were the product, not Blame.Churchill Downs had you all over their website, Miss Z, you made horse racing last year.SO, in the end the turf writers had a opportunity to send a new message, alas, I fear they have failed. Any other owner would have retired you, that is the in vogue thing to do, retire after the 3 year old season, get those stud fees. The Moss’however set a example, that we don’t know yet if others will follow. The sport has so few stars, I mean real stars, that is what you brought to the sport Miss Z and the Moss’ were generous enough to share with racing. So far, the turf writers haven’t seen it, but it was there and you were there all along. Giving your all, your very best. HOY, that doesn’t come close to what you gave the sport, nothing close.Now you can live a different life, and you will be a champion in this next phase. You have so much more than any HOY in the past or in the future will ever have, you have a wonderful, loving and caring family, fans who will never forget you , a future full of happiness and peeps that always put you first.Love you Z.

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