Breeders’ Cup Poses Marathon Challenge to TV Audience


Breeders’ Cup Classic, Easy Goer vs. Sunday Silence at 5:32 p.m. EST Saturday on NBC. Oh my, as host Dick Enberg is bound to say. The seven-race show from Gulfstream runs 4 1/2 hours, so make sure the remote control has fresh batteries and the ‘fridge fresh provisions.

Regarding the biggie, Chris McCarron, who will pilot Sunday Silence, says, “Look, any time you get a horse race with this much money ($3 million) and so many good horses, it’s never a two-horse race.” Chris has a career in diplomacy after his riding days are past.

To paraphrase ESPN college football expert Beano Cook, who said of the Tennessee-Alabama game, “You don’t die this week. If you do, nobody goes to the funeral": Out in Big Eight Country, where No. 2 Colorado goes against No. 3 Nebraska Saturday on CBS, clergymen probably would refuse to schedule a service.

Cuban Missile Crisis II: All the frustration and tension the Capital Of The Free World went through waiting and wondering why Dexter Manley did not show up for a couple of TV commitments was relieved when the Washington Redskins’ defensive end explained he needed a day off. Yes, Dex can read, but he has trouble operating a phone.


One of the lead-ins to the Evander Holyfield-Alex Stewart fight on Showtime Saturday night is Mike Tyson’s man, Don King, promising Holyfield a shot at the champ next year. A promise in boxing, of course, is akin to someone saying the check is in the mail.

The New York City Marathon comes on ABC Sunday morning. World record holder Belayneh Densimo (2:06:50) is the favorite, but don’t discount defending champ Steve Jones (2:08:20). He has been in solitary confinement at altitude for eight weeks and when asked what his reaction would be if Densimo bolted out to a 1:02 first half, the man from Wales was dead serious when he answered, “I can handle that.”

Who was the bald guy in ABC’s Monday Night Football booth the other night, Otis Sistrunk of “University of Mars” fame? At least Telly Savalas wasn’t shilling for the Gold Card.

It might be time for Tom Seaver to start looking over his shoulder, or having wife Nancy sample his food. Of his work doing Yankee games on TV, George Steinbrenner says, “I don’t know of a color man in baseball I enjoy listening to more than Tom.” In some ways, George obviously leads a sheltered life.


Speaking of the Yanks, they’re all heart. Sometime next season, they’re going to invite Mel Allen in to do a game so he can boast of doing baseball play-by-play in seven decades. Mel started his How About Thats in 1939 and was unceremoniously canned by the Bombers a quarter-century later.

Tom’s a piker in the use of the word next to Frank Gifford, though. Of Buffalo linebacker Shane Conlan, Giff recorded a three-bagger, exclaiming, “Conlan has great speed, great strength and made a great read on that play.”

Dick Vermeil, working last week’s UCLA-Washington game for ABC, said, “I wish I was coaching instead of being up here in the broadcast booth.” Hey, Coach, a lot of us feel the same way. Fortunately, your partner Gary Bender was there to lighten the mood.

The Red Sox called Tony Kubek at home in Wisconsin to ask him if he wanted to do some of their games on cable, but he was off hunting in North Dakota. What do they hunt for out there, trees?

Believe it or not, the record for consecutive wins at Notre Dame is only 21 (1946-48). With success against Navy Saturday, the Irish can equal that mark. Then it will be on to the record against SMU next week.

ESPN starts its Sunday night slate of NFL games this weekend with the Redskins and Cowboys teeing it up at 8 EST. Commentator Joe Theismann has been saving up words since the end of last season and the poor guy’s ready to burst. Batten down the hatches.