In a return to good memories (I liked Silver Charm), I’m rewatching the 1997 Triple Crown broadcasts at the moment. I recorded them at the time on my VCR.
I still like Silver Charm, but what strikes me strongly is how different the broadcasts were. They were about the HORSES. I’m only through the Derby and about 10 minutes into the Preakness, but we haven’t had features on clothes or somebody making a $2500 mint julep or such. Instead, they have run features on the favorites (nice bits on Pulpit and Claiborne, too. I liked both of those), features on major contenders, and features on long shots. They showed an earlier race. They did have a jockey who wasn’t riding the race on hand, McCarron for the Derby, Bailey for the Preakness, but even the main network folks seemed quite familiar with horses and really seemed to be interested in the race as a horse race. And Jim McKay was great, as always.
Then there’s the commercials. Boy, have commercials changed. Less sensory bombarding and ADHD-type, more “plots.” I like the recurring Visa one that says (with several montage horse-racing pictures and many seconds of no words, just the race scenes), “This year at the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont, there’s an absolutely sure thing. If you take American Express, you won’t get in.”
Anyway, it’s proving a more interesting trip back than I had intended. I didn’t expect to be struck so strongly by the changes in styles. I wish they still had Triple Crown broadcasts more similar to 1997 than to 2022.