Rachel and Zenyatta - Free and Easy

This Saturday at 6 pm (EST), the NTRA will launch a new interactive initiative on www.NTRA.com entitled, “NTRA Live!”.  We will be offering free, live video streaming of the seasonal debuts of both 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra and the undefeated Champion Zenyatta. In case you have been living under a rock, Rachel Alexandra will make her first 2010 start in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes from Fair Grounds, while Zenyatta will compete about 25 minutes later in the Grade I Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap at Santa Anita.  

Randy Moss will serve as the in-studio host of NTRA Live!.  Randy’s experience with ESPN, ABC and the NFL Network make him a great choice.  You see, we are not just streaming the racetrack feed of these races.  Our goal is to surround these races with compelling, original and high quality content and analysis. While the Webcasts are in no way intended to replace traditional broadcast mediums, in some ways they are better.

The Internet will allow us to engage viewers through a live chat and allow for easy, one-click access to free past performance data and advance deposit wagering sites. These Webcasts also are available for viewing by anyone in the world with access to an Internet connection. And these high quality Webcasts make it possible to bring you races that would otherwise be impossible to televise on traditional broadcast television (although Saturday’s races will be televised on HRTV).

We have been saying for months that the NTRA is pursuing a new approach to marketing horse racing - one that relies heavily on input from fans and horse racing’s extensive, passionate online community. In this particular case, it was the NTRA’s Online Marketing Task Force that first planted the idea to video stream races via the Internet as part of their idea to “Take Back Saturday.” Kudos to that group of web-savvy individuals for pushing us in the right direction.

This initiative may not excite those who still rely solely on traditional media for their entertainment and information. But to the growing number of our fans who no longer regularly read newspapers or watch network television, this will be welcomed as a sign that the industry is willing to change to become more accessible to fans.    

I’m sure a natural question many of you will have is, “Why not this race or that race?”  We are still putting together the full schedule and lining up all the necessary media rights (which is no easy task) but as of now these are the upcoming NTRA Live! Webcasts:

     -  New Orleans Ladies Stakes, Saturday,  March 13
     -  Santa Margarita, Saturday, March 13
     -  Florida Derby, Saturday, March 20
     -  Sunland Park Derby, Sunday, March 28
     -  Coolmore Lexington Stakes, Saturday, April 17

I hope you have a chance to view the Webcasts this Saturday or in the coming weeks and give me your feedback below. Each Webcast will be archived on NTRA.com and we will continue to offer replays of virtually all Thoroughbred Graded Stakes races contested in North America. And I hope you will help us spread the word that we are seeking new media platforms to bring Thoroughbred racing to current and target racing fans.

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