If you happen to attend tomorrow's Preakness, keep your eye on Charlsie Cantey. And get a stiff neck.
She's there, near the stables. She's gone over to the infield. Oops, she's up in the grandstand. She's on the rail. And down the stretch she comes.
Whoa, got a little carried away for a second.
In any case, Cantey will be a woman in motion during ABC's coverage of the Preakness from Pimlico Race Course (4:30 p.m., channels 13, 7).
"I walk two miles during the show," she said. "There's a lot of things happening."
So, what does she think will be happening on the track during the race?
"Strike the Gold, if he keeps running the way he's running, he can get it," Cantey said. "But I don't think he's invincible. He's going to get a hard battle. . . . This time, there is so much speed, it may play into his [Strike the Gold's] hands."
As always with horse-racing telecasts, there is the question of to whom the announcer should address himself -- or herself, in this case.
"Sometimes, I wonder if we get more racing people tuning in to see the whole cast of characters," she said, speculating that aficionados might be expected to watch just the race itself.
And Cantey won't talk down to non-experts.
"It's not something I dwell upon a lot. I just try to stay away from esoteric terms," she said. "When you watch an NFL game, they don't stop and explain every time they say, 'third and 10.'
"It [horse racing] is not that difficult to understand."
OK, then, who's going to win, Charlsie?
"Strike the Gold."
I can understand that.
Among the scheduled features on ABC's Preakness telecast are looks at jockey Chris Antley's career, at the state of the racing industry and at Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold's origins at financially troubled Calumet Farm. . . . Today at 6 p.m., ESPN will have a taped telecast of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. Tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., ESPN is carrying a one-hour Preakness special that includes the running of the Maryland Budweiser Breeders' Cup. . . . CBS' pre-game baseball show tomorrow (2:30 p.m., channels 11, 9) will feature reports on Darryl Strawberry and the Cy Young jinx. The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers game follows at 3 p.m. . . . Gayle Gardner, who once appeared on her way toward becoming an off-air character on NBC Sports, this week signed a new, multiyear contract with the network. She also will be one of the anchors for the NBC-produced, pay-per-view coverage of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Bob Costas said he'll do three more seasons of "NFL Live" for NBC, then that's it. Costas' contract with the network runs through 1993, and he said he's not interested in continuing as host of the studio show. Costas deftly handles the rapid-fire pace of the program, but said he is becoming burned out. "NFL Live," in addition to pre-game and post-game shows, includes several cut-ins to different games and as many as five separate halftime shows in less than a half-hour. "I will have done 'NFL Live' for 10 years," Costas said. "Ten years. There's no way I'll ever host a football show again." Costas said he is having more fun on the network's NBA studio show than he does with "NFL Live."
One question about the Maryland radio situation: Why is the school so eager to retain Johnny Holliday? . . . George Foreman has signed a four-year deal with Home Box Office as a boxing analyst. I guess that's what is called wide-screen TV. . . . Those lucky folks with satellite dishes can point their antennas south and try to grab SportsSouth out of the sky. The regional cable network features a program called "Deion's All-Stars," whose host is Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons player and jewelry expert Deion Sanders.
Highest-rated sports programs, according to Arbitron ratings of 15 markets, for May 6-12 with network, date, broadcast time in EDT, rating and share (rating is the percentage of households with televisions; share is the percentage of households with televisions in use):
1. May 12, NBA playoff Game 1 (Bulls-76ers), NBC, 1-3:15 p.m., 7.5, 24.
2. May 12, NBA playoff Game 2 (Lakers-Warriors), NBC, 3:15-6 p.m., 7.5, 22.
3. May 11, NBA playoff Game 2 (Trail Blazers-Jazz), NBC, 3:30-6 p.m., 5.6, 17.
4. May 11, NBA playoff Game 1 (Celtics-Pistons), NBC, 1-3:30 p.m., 5.5, 19.
5. May 11, Wide World of Sports, ABC, 4:30-6 p.m., 4.0, 11.
6. May 11, Pro Bowlers-Fresno Open, ABC, 3-4:30 p.m., 3.3, 11.
7. May 12, Golf-Atlanta Classic, CBS, 3:30-7 p.m., 3.2, 9.
8. May 11, Indianapolis 500 Time Trial, ABC, 12-3 p.m., 2.3, 8.
9. May 12, Grand Prix of Monaco, ABC, 4:30-6 p.m., 2.2, 6.