Fox Sports 2 has expanded its series of winter and spring racing broadcasts this year to 12 telecasts, up from six last year, with the first of the broadcasts airing this Saturday with a trio of Kentucky Derby prep races, according to an announcement from the network and its broadcast partners.
The 12 broadcasts this year will include 24 hours of live television from a total of six tracks, up from 17 hours for races at three tracks last year. The first broadcast, running 2 1/2 hours from 4-6:30 p.m. Eastern, will feature the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct, the Grade 2 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park, and the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park, all early Derby preps.
The expanded roster of live racing coverage is another step up for Fox Sports, which late last year announced a deal with the New York Racing Association to broadcast 500 hours of live racing from NYRA’s tracks this year and another 600 hours next year. The deals are challenging the primacy of NBC Sports for coverage of live racing events, though NBC retains the broadcast rights to the Triple Crown races and the Breeders’ Cup, both under long-term deals.
The broadcasts, which are being called “Fox Sports Saturday at the Races,” will be produced by NYRA and run through April 20, according to an announcement. The broadcast deal also includes as a partner The Stronach Group, which owns Gulfstream and Santa Anita, two tracks that host a handful of major Derby preps each along with other major races.
This year’s schedule also will include races for the first time from Oaklawn Park in Arkansas, Tampa Bay Downs in Florida, and Charles Town in West Virginia. Last year, the schedule was limited to races from Aqueduct, Gulfstream, and Santa Anita.
Broadcasts in March are tentatively scheduled to include live coverage of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, the Grade 2 San Felipe, and the Grade 3 Gotham, according to the announcement.
A broadcast on Feb. 18, Presidents Day, will feature three major races from Oaklawn – the Southwest, the Razorback, and the Bayakoa, all Grade 3 stakes.
The broadcast schedule concludes with a two-hour show on April 20 featuring the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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