LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- NBC-TV's involvement in racing always has been limited, but they can boast one thing: They're the only network that has had the Breeders' Cup.
Today, Tom Hammond will be host of the four-hour show, replacing Dick Enberg, who will be doing play-by-play of the Navy-Notre Dame game.
One of seven reporters will be Maryland-based jockey Gregg McCarron, who will conduct interviews on horseback. This is McCarron's third year in such a role.
Don't miss the in-depth piece on trainer Ron McAnally. It details his Hall of Fame career with such horses as John Henry, Cassaleria, Bayakoa and Sea Cadet. The segment also explores McAnally's feelings about last year's Distaff, which Bayakoa won when Go for Wand broke down.
* National Pick-7 basics:
* The co-mingled pool will be divided in this way: 75 percent paid for all seven winners, 25 percent to six out of seven. If no one chooses all seven, the entire pool goes to the next highest number.
* If a horse is scratched, the selection automatically is transferred to the betting favorite at Churchill Downs.
* The mutuel take-out depends on where the bet is made. At Maryland tracks, the take-out is 25 percent. An example of how that would work: If the entire pool is $10 million and there are 10 winning tickets, with one bet at Laurel, then the Laurel winner would receive $750,000 before federal taxes.
* Since 1945, Fred Hooper has been the ultimate example of beginner's luck in racing. Hoop Jr., Hooper's first horse, won the Kentucky Derby that year.
Eddie Arcaro, who rode Hoop Jr., told Hooper, "That's the most expensive race you'll ever win." Hooper asked why, and Arcaro replied, "You'll spend the rest of your life trying to win it again."
Hooper, 94, has had some good horses since then, such as Crozier, Susan's Girl and Precisionist, but no more Derby winners. Today, a Hooper homebred, Tri To Watch, is the top East Coast representative in the Juvenile, a race Hooper hopes will be a springboard to victory in the 1992 Derby.
"He's a little horse, but he thinks he's big," said Hooper.
* Don't look for another tear-jerker from the grandstand if Unbridled wins the Classic. When the colt won the 1990 Derby, an unforgettable scene unfolded on national television between trainer Carl Nafzger and Frances Genter, the colt's elderly owner, with Nafzger telling her, "Mrs. Genter, you've won the Kentucky Derby! I love you, Mrs. Genter!"
Nafzger said Mrs. Genter will be home in Minneapolis watching the races on television. "She broke her arm a while back and hasn't been getting around," he said. "I think she's right about 94 now."
Picking the Pick-7
So you want to change your life by winning the national Pick-7? How about betting every combination? That'll only cost $60,217,344. Cash, please.
The point being: Unless you can scrounge up more than $60 million before noon today, you can't bet 'em all in the Pick-7. Not even close.
So let it begin -- the cutting, the eliminating, the paring down. The goal: Give yourself a chance to win without blowing half a year's mortgage.
The easiest way to do that is by sharing a ticket with friends ("syndicating") and/or by "singling" horses in given races. Betting only one horse in one race frees more money for "spreading" selections in races that winners appear tough to find.
I= So here's what my small Pick-7 syndicate will be betting:
Race . . . . . . Picks
Sprint . . . . . Housebuster
Fillies . . . . . Preach
Distaff . . . . . Dance Smartly
Mile . . . . . . .Shadayid, Priolo, Kooyonga, Polar Falcon
Juvenile. . . . . Tri to Watch, Star Recruit, Bag
Turf . . . . . . Filago, Pistolet Bleu, Pigeon Voyageur, Kartajana
Classic . . . . . Festin, Unbridled, Black Tie Affair
By doing some simple math (1 x 1 x 1 x 4 x 3 x 4 x 3), you'll find that's 144 combinations. At $2 per bet, that's a mere $288.
Like many other people betting relatively small tickets, we like our chances. Everything considered, it's our way to play.
And yes, we'll be watching as intently and hoping as hard as the people whose tickets run far into the thousands.