Stretch calls tune in to the voice of America

SPORT ON THE INTERNET
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The Independent Online
Brought up on the measured tones of Peter O'Sullevan and Peter Bromley, I find that American race-readers remind me of Spike Jones and his City Slickers and their version of the "William Tell Overture". This sets a manic horse-race commentary to Rossini's music in which a horse called Feetlebaum trails in last. Now you can hear these "stretch calls", commentaries of the last couple of furlongs, across the Internet.

The Breeders' Cup, the annual jamboree where the best American horseflesh meets its European counterpart and kicks dirt in its collective face, is held today at Hollywood Park. The official website provides a comprehensive guide to the races. It contains news and photographs, details about Hollywood Park (which has its own site), statistics from previous runnings and QuickTime videos of races featuring this year's contenders.

It is also possible to access RealAudio "stretch calls" from 1995 onwards. The latest Las Vegas odds on all the races are available, as are details of US tracks where it is possible to watch and bet on the races. Click on any state and you get a list of all the participating tracks in that state. It is also possible to enter an on-line challenge to win $500.

The unlikely sounding Cindy's Horse Racing site is the best central point of reference to access anything to do with horse-racing, particularly with a North American bias.

The site, run by Cindy Pierson, has its own Breeders' Cup section. She has links to most American courses which have their own sites, indicating which have current racing and which have RealAudio. The best is Del Mar, which has video and audio archives of all its races. It will not be long before all races are broadcast live across the Internet.

Churchill Downs hosts the Breeders' Cup in 1998 and it is already possible to book tickets on their site.

For a British angle go to the Sporting Life site, which has the latest news and latest prices from the bookmakers.

- Edward Abelson

ADDRESSES

Breeders' Cup Official Site: http://www.breederscup.com/

Hollywood Park: http://www.hollywoodpark.com/

Equibase: http://www.equibase.com/home.html

Cindy's Horse Racing Site: http://www.wsnet.com/sysclp/ racing.html

Churchill Downs: http://www.kentuckyderby.com/

Del Mar: http://www.dmtc.com/

Sporting Life Breeders' Cup: http://www.sporting-life.com/racing/breeders_cup/

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