(Baltimore, MD) --- Continuing its commitment to televising the highest caliber national and local thoroughbred racing, MASN has partnered with The New York Racing Association Inc. (NYRA) to present "Saturdays at Saratoga" beginning Saturday, August 1 at 5:00 p.m. The special live programming is the latest racing series televised by MASN, and will run for five weeks in August and September from the historic Saratoga Race Course. Jason Blewitt, Eric Donovan and Andy Serling will provide commentary for the telecasts.
"Saturdays at Saratoga" telecasts will provide live coverage of eight championship caliber stakes races, including the Jim Dandy, Whitney Handicap, Alabama and Woodward, races won by the likes of War Admiral, Kelso, Dr. Fager, Easy Goer and 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year, Curlin.
MASN has been at the forefront of bringing top quality thoroughbred action to mid-Atlantic viewers since it launched a 24-hour television schedule in 2006. Currently, MASN carries "Thoroughbred Week," a regular recap of racing insights and highlights, as well as "Against the Odds," a weekly preview of the country's top stakes races produced by HRTV, and "Inside Information" an in-depth look at the personalities in thoroughbred racing, also produced by HRTV. The network has also televised Trackside Live, a weekly tour of the best racetracks in the country.
Below is the schedule for "Saturdays at Saratoga" live on MASN:
5pm - 6pm
$500,000 Diana (Grade I) and $500,000 Jim Dandy (Grade II)
5pm - 6pm
$750,000 Whitney (Grade I) and $300,000 Test (Grade I)
5pm - 6pm
$500,000 Sword Dancer (Grade I) and Stake TBA
5pm - 6pm
$600,000 Alabama Stakes (Grade I) and Stake TBA
5pm - 6pm
$500,000 Woodward Stakes (Grade I) and $300,000 Forego (Grade I)
"We're thrilled to partner with MASN and broaden the distribution of 'Saturdays at Saratoga,'" said Hal Handel, NYRA vice president and COO. "Saratoga Race Course hosts the best thoroughbred racing in the country and we're delighted that viewers in new markets will be able to watch the action on some of our biggest days."
The Saratoga racing season features the very best of the thoroughbred sport from one of America's oldest thoroughbred tracks, historic Saratoga Race Course. 2008 Diana winner Forever Together, a 5-year-old mare trained by Jonathan Sheppard, returns August 1 looking to capture her second win in the G1, $500,000 Diana. Forever Together came from last place early on to win the 2008 Diana by Â¾ lengths. Commentator, an astounding 8-year-old gelding, is likely to go for his record-tying third victory on August 8 in the G1, $750,000 Whitney Handicap. Commentator, trained by Hall of Famer Nick Zito, is sitting at $1.9 million in earnings for his great career, and will look to exceed the $2 million mark in the Whitney. Grand Couturier, a 6-year-old horse, is likely to go for his third consecutive win in the G1, $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational. Trained by Bobby Ribaudo, Grand Couturier won the 2007 Sword Dancer by three lengths and the 2008 Sword Dancer by two lengths.
MASN's lineup of thoroughbred programming has also included live coverage of the Maryland Million, the state's second-largest day of racing after the Preakness, as well as annual coverage of the Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs in Lutherville, Maryland, benefitting the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. MASN has televised preview and feature programming for the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont stakes, as well as the Breeders Cup.
"This exciting partnership with NYRA continues MASN's longstanding commitment to providing the highest caliber national and local thoroughbred racing programming to fans throughout the mid-Atlantic. Saratoga is one of the most prestigious horseracing series of the year and is a crown jewel of the summer racing calendar. It is another example of MASN's pioneering commitment to delivering the best in thoroughbred racing," said network spokesman Todd Webster.
Founded in 1955, and franchised to run thoroughbred racing at New York's three major tracks though 2033, the New York Racing Association boasts a lineage that actually stretches back almost 150 years. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of the state's thoroughbred business, which contributes more than $2 billion annually to New York State's urban, suburban and rural economy. In 2008, 1,735,715 people attended the live races at NYRA tracks. Factoring nationwide off track wagering, the average daily betting handle on NYRA races alone totals more than $9.7 million every race day. NYRA has a vast network of websites, including www.nyra.com, www.belmontstakes.com, and www.nyragroupsales.com.
MASN is a Regional Sports Network serving a seven-state area whose combined television footprint would make MASN the fourth largest television market in the country. The network is owned by the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals and televises every available Major League Baseball game of both teams. With its robust schedule of NCAA Division I football, basketball, and lacrosse, the network televises more than 600 live professional and collegiate events annually. MASN is the official cable network of the Baltimore Ravens, Georgetown Hoyas basketball, George Mason Patriots basketball and carries the Big East Game of the Week in football and basketball. For more information visit www.masports.com.