The “Summer at Saratoga, Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series – Presented By Lane’s End Farm” Will Broadcast Two Hours Live From Historic Spa
NEW YORK (August 27, 2015) – American Pharoah, Thoroughbred racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, is set to return to the track this Saturday, August 29, at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in the $1.6 million Travers Stakes for 3-year-olds at 4 p.m. ET on NBC. The 146th running of the Travers is the highlight of an outstanding two-hour program of live racing, which will also include the $1 million Sword Dancer and the $700,000 Forego Handicap as a part of the “Summer at Saratoga, Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series– Presented by Lane’s End Farm” broadcast.
The Travers is the fifth of 10 telecasts under the “Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series – Presented by Lane’s End” banner of automatic qualifying races leading into the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Oct. 30-Oct. 31, which will be televised live on NBCSN and NBC from Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.
Laffit Pincay III hosts live coverage from Saratoga, joined by analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey, five-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and three-time Travers Stakes winner, reporter Donna Brothers, analysts/handicappers Eddie Olczyk and Bob Neumeier, and race caller Larry Collmus. Daily Racing Form’s Matt Bernier will also serve as handicapper.
“I can’t wait to see American Pharoah deliver another breathtaking performance in the Travers at Saratoga this Saturday. I may never see another one like him in my lifetime,” said Bailey in anticipation of Saturday’s showdown.
This Saturday’s telecast will include an interview with American Pharoah’s trainer Bob Baffert, a feature on the history of past champions running at Saratoga, and Jerry Bailey’s look at what makes American Pharoah perhaps the greatest horse of all time.
American Pharoah, owned by Zayat Stables and trained by Baffert, will be an overwhelming favorite on Saturday when he is expected to face nine rivals in his first start since winning the William Hill Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on August 2. Since losing his debut race last summer, American Pharoah has won eight consecutive times, and in the process became the first horse in 37 years to sweep the Triple Crown. American Pharoah will go to stud at the end of this season, and the connections have indicated that the son of Pioneerof the Nile will have make the Breeders’ Cup Classic his final career start in his quest to become the first horse ever to capture Thoroughbred racing’s Grand Slam of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
American Pharoah arrived in Saratoga on Wednesday afternoon from his summertime base at Del Mar in California. Breaking from the No. 2 post position at odds of 1-5 under jockey Victor Espinoza, American Pharoah will likely be challenged in the Travers by the first two finishers from the 1 1/8 mile Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga on August 1, Texas Red and Frosted. Trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden his brother, Kent, Texas Red, the 8-1 third choice, won last year’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park, but was forced off the Triple Crown trail due to injury this winter. He returned in July with a second place finish in the Dwyer at Belmont Park, and followed that performance with a half-length victory over Frosted in the Jim Dandy.
Frosted, trained by Kieran McLaughlin and ridden by Joel Rosario, is the second choice in the wagering at 6-1. Frosted finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, and then second to Belmont Stakes prior to his second-place finish in the Jim Dandy earlier this month. The 12-1 Keen Ice, trained by Dale Romans, finished to American Pharoah by 2 ½ lengths in the Haskell.
Saturday’s show will also include the live presentation of the 1 ½ mile Sword Dancer, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for an automatic berth into the $3 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, and the seven furlong Forego Handicap, which will award the winner a free berth into the $1.5 million TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
International star Flintshire, from England, leads the Sword Dancer. The 5-year-old, trained by Andre Fabre, was second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf and then won the Longines Hong Kong Vase in December at Sha Tin. Flintshire comes into the Sword Dancer off a second-place finish to two-time Arc de Triomphe winner Treve in June in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
A third-place finisher in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, Private Zone, trained by Jorge Navarro and ridden by Martin Pedroza, Private Zone has won both the Churchill Downs Stakes and the Belmont Sprint Championship this year.
As an added element to the racing action, fans can also get into the excitement of the Travers, which offers them the chance to correctly select the exact order of finish of the race and win a trip the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The game is free to enter and play, and fans can register and submit their picks for each race online at: http://www.milliondollarfinish.com/. The fantasy player with the highest score for each designated race will win a once-in-a-lifetime VIP trip for two to the sold-out 2015 Breeders’ Cup. Along with the 10 chances to win during the Challenge Series, fans can enter for a shot at the ultimate prize of $1 million during the Breeders’ Cup World Championships by predicting the correct order for the top 10 finishers in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will air on Saturday, October 31 on NBC.
ABOUT NBC SPORTS GROUP
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBCSN (NBC Sports Network), Golf Channel, 10 NBC Sports Regional Networks, NBC Sports Radio and NBC Sports Digital. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, NASCAR, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, Churchill Downs, New York Racing Association, Breeders’ Cup, Premier League, Tour de France, French Open, Formula One, IndyCar and many more.
About Breeders’ Cup
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2015 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 grade I races and purses totaling $26 million, will be held October 30-31 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
No purchase necessary to enter or win. The Promotion registration period begins on or about April 28, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. ET and ends on October 31, 2015 at 5:40 p.m. ET. Promotion is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States & D.C., who are 18 years of age or older. See Official Rules at www.MillionDollarFinish.com/rules for exact registration times for each race, additional eligibility restrictions, prize descriptions/restrictions/ARVs and complete details. Void where prohibited. PROMOTION IS DEVISED AS A NON-GAMBLING PROMOTION and is intended solely for entertainment purposes. Promotion is sponsored by Breeders’ Cup Limited. Breeders’ Cup Limited is the sole sponsor of the Promotion. NBC Sports and NBCUniversal Media, LLC are not sponsors of the Promotion and are not associated with the administration of the Promotion in any way. Entrants are providing information to sponsors and not to NBC Sports and NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–