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SUNDAY'S SWAPS STAKES KICKS OFF "THE ROAD TO THE WORLD THOROUGHBRED CHAMPIONSHIPS" ON ESPN NETWORKS
"The Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships," a four-month, 16-program, 20-race series airing on the ESPN networks, begins this Sunday, July 15, with the telecast of the Grade I, $500,000 Swaps Stakes from Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif., on ESPN2 from 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. (ET)
One of the premier post-Triple Crown races for three-year-olds, the 1 1/8 mile Swaps Stakes has proven to be a significant Classic Division prep in the recent past. Two years ago, Swaps winner Cat Thief went on to win the 1999 Breeders' Cup Classic at Gulfstream Park, while in last year's renewal, Captain Steve edged Tiznow, who proceeded to capture the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on the way to earning Horse of the Year honors. Sunday Silence, Da Hoss, Prized and Precisionist are other Swaps graduates to later win a Breeders' Cup event, with Sunday Silence taking the 1989 Classic.
"Considering recent history, it is very fitting that 'The Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships' begins with the Swaps," said Breeders' Cup President and NTRA Vice Chairman D.G. Van Clief Jr. "We are likely to see additional Classic Division contenders in this year's edition."
The Bob Baffert-trained Congaree is expected to head a seven-horse field on Sunday. The Swaps would be Congaree's first start since back-to-back third place finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes as he attempts to emerge from the shadow of stablemate Point Given, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner. Congaree won the Wood Memorial back in April at the same 1 1/8 mile distance. Expected to challenge Congaree in the Swaps are the top three finishers in the recent Grade III Affirmed Stakes, led by winner Until Sundown. Also expected to run is Jamaican Rum, who was sixth in this year's Kentucky Derby.
According to NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith, Sunday's Swaps telecast will introduce the television audience to the Breeders' Cup new positioning as the World Thoroughbred Championships. "For the first time, viewers will get a comprehensive look at the new World Thoroughbred Championships branding and what it means, including new series graphics, divisional standings and updates on top international contenders for the Breeders' Cup," said Smith.
Hosting Sunday's telecast will be Jeff Medders, joined by analyst Randy Moss and reporter Jeannine Edwards. The producer will be Tom Dawson with Dorinda Ivey directing.
Show highlights will include an overview of the top Classic Division competitors so far in 2001, including Point Given and the top European horse, Galileo, the powerful winner of this year's Epsom and Irish Derbies; and a preview of a new, multimillion dollar advertising campaign that will begin airing on the ESPN networks on July 28 in support of "The Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships." Running through October, it will feature ESPN personality Kenny Mayne, along with 2001 Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Jorge Chavez, jockeys Aaron Gryder and Joe Bravo and retired Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr.
ADDITIONAL "ROAD TO THE WORLD THOROUGHBRED CHAMPIONSHIPS" COVERAGE ON NTRA 2DAY AT THE RACES
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing awareness of Thoroughbred racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA also conducts the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, racing's year-end Championship consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, and the Breeders' Cup National Stakes Program, which are funded by the industry's owners and breeders. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. A compendium of NTRA press releases appears on the NTRA Web site, ntra.com, and at the Web site for the Breeders' Cup Championship, breederscup.com. Contact the NTRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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