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Seibel & Rice To Host Hambo On NBC

Published: August 4, 2009 11:13 am ET

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Gary Seibel, harness racing’s expert commentator, and award winning reporter Kenny Rice, will host NBC’s coverage of the 83rd Hambletonian at the Meadowlands on Saturday, August 8.

The NBC broadcast team recently won their seventh consecutive Eclipse Award for their live racing coverage.

The one-hour live broadcast will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Seibel, a veteran harness racing broadcaster, has been a part of the Hambletonian broadcast since 1989, including a 13-year run on CBS. Seibel has covered racing for ESPN, SportsChannel and Prime Network. He also co-hosted the American Championship Harness Series and Trotters And Pacers programs, and hosted the Breeders Crown TV coverage, harness racing's divisional championship series, for more than a decade.

Seibel currently serves as an anchor for the TVG Network, the interactive horse racing network, and hosts TVG’s harness racing show Drive Time.

Seibel has been with TVG since its inception and is one of the sport’s acknowledged authorities. With his in-depth knowledge of both thoroughbred and harness racing, his years of experience calling races and his varied communication skills, Seibel is a key component of the Hambletonian broadcast.

Rice is returning as co-host from last year’s broadcast. Rice, a news reporter from Lexington, Kentucky has been a contributing reporter for NBC thoroughbred racing coverage since 1999. He was an original member of the Hervey-award winning Breeders Crown broadcast team since 1984 and co-hosted the Hambletonian broadcast on ESPN in 1988.

Rice was sports director of the Lexington ABC affiliate for 19 years, producing and hosting over 75 specials on UK football, basketball and baseball as well Cincinnati Reds baseball and Cincinnati Bengals football. He's covered six Final Fours, the World Series, NFL playoffs, college bowl games, professional boxing and is currently the bull riding play-by-play man for NBC. He also hosted the 2007 Eclipse Awards for the NTRA.

The broadcast team also includes NBC's Donna Barton Brothers, who will file her reports on horseback.

Barton Brothers, who retired in 1998 as the all-time leading money-earner among female jockeys and now trails only Julie Krone, calls on her experience to interview jockeys on horseback after each race during NBC’s coverage of Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. This will be just her third harness race, but she has already jogged, trained and gone behind the gate with a standardbred for a feature on the similarities between the two breeds in the 2007 Hambletonian broadcast and last year went to Hambletonian favourite and subsequent winner Ray Schnittker’s farm to watch him swim, train and jog his entrant, Deweycheatumnhowe. Barton-Brothers actually got to ride Deweycheatumnhowe, surely a first in sports broadcasting.

Barton Brothers joined NBC Sports in 2000 for the network’s broadcast of the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. She was part of NBC’s Eclipse Award-winning team at the 2001 Breeders’ Cup, 2002 Preakness Stakes, 2007 Kentucky Derby and 2008 Preakness Stakes coverage.

Barton Brothers hails from a family of riders, including her brother and sister, as well as her mother, Patty Barton, who, in 1969, became one of the first half dozen women to be licensed as a jockey.

In 1998, Barton Brothers began her broadcast career working as an in-house interviewer for the Fairgrounds in New Orleans. In the spring of 1999, she joined Mike Battaglia as a race analyst for Churchill Downs’ Paddock Preview show. Additionally, Brothers does on-location work for TVG, the horseracing network.

The show will be produced by John MacGuiness.

Broadcast time for the $1.5 million Hambletonian and the filly companion event, the $850,000 Hambletonian Oaks, is on the schedule at 3:30 p.m. [EDT] on Saturday, August 8, at the Meadowlands.

The Hambletonian, owned and administered by the New Jersey-based Hambletonian Society, remains the only harness race to be nationally televised by one of the four major networks, thanks to a long-standing partnership between the Hambletonian Society and the Meadowlands Racetrack.

The classic trotting race is celebrating 27 years at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which has held the event since 1981. It is the longest-running host venue.

(Hambletonian Society)

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