The next best thing in summer to actually being at Saratoga Racecourse is watching full-card races from the venerable “Spa” on Fox Sports cable channels, FS1 or FS2.  2021 is the sixth season for “Saratoga Live.”  TVG does not televise NYRA races, so Fox is the place to go for Saratoga racing.

In particular, Fox offered a welcome service to horse racing fans in 2020, who were prohibited from attending the races in person owing to the pandemic.  Fox is once again televising the entire race card every day (Wednesday through Sunday) except when NBC has a contractual agreement to cover a high-profile race like the Travers.    

What individual television viewers care for is a matter of personal preference.  In my mind, the Fox telecasts are well done, mainly because of the on-air personalities, who are all articulate and knowledgeable about what they report on.  Moreover, the on-air crew members let the participants–equine and human–be the focal point of the telecasts and do not play to the cameras.

Because of the extended length of the programs, the announcers work in two shifts.  Over the course of the telecasts, hosts Greg Wolf and Laffit Pincay III elicit analyses and picks from handicappers Andy Serling and Johnathan Kinchen.  Acacia Courtney, who also sometimes acts as a program host, and Maggie Wolfendale provide paddock and winner’s circle interviews with owners, jockeys, and trainers and assess how entries appear in the paddock before races.  Retired jockeys Richard Migliore and Gary Stevens contribute their considerable expertise mainly on racing strategy and tactics.

In the halcyon days of horse racing and large on-track crowds, racetracks were not aggressive in pursuing the new medium of television, and it cost the sport plenty in terms of public interest.  The volume of racing telecasts is now growing every year and that is a key to generating new fans and holding on to the fans racing already has. 

Copyright © 2021 Horse Racing Business


  1. Ken kachel says

    I agree that Fox does a fantastic job with Saratoga Live . I’ve been a horse owner and breeder for 40 years and I can watch the entire telecast with interest . I would like to see if they could announce claims after each claiming race.