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NBC SPORTS BELMONT STAKES CONFERENCE CALL

With Mike Tirico, Randy Moss, Jerry Bailey, Eddie Olczyk, Britney Eurton, Kenny Rice, Larry Collmus, and Rob Hyland

June 16, 2020

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to today’s call. For the first time ever, the Belmont Stakes leads off the Triple Crown, and our coverage begins at 2:45 p.m. eastern on NBC, this Saturday, June 20th. Joining us on today’s call is our socially distanced broadcast team, host Mike Tirico and analyst Randy Moss, who will be in our NBC Sports broadcast center in Stamford; Hall-of-Fame jockey and two-time Belmont winner Jerry Bailey, who will be in Florida; handicapper Eddie Olczyk, who will be in Chicago; our reporters Britney Eurton and Kenny Rice, who will be on location at Belmont Park; and race caller Larry Collmus, who will also be on location at Belmont. The coordinating producer is Rob Hyland, who is serving as the lead producer on his 25th Triple Crown race this Saturday. Each of our team will make a brief opening remark and then we’ll take questions.

ROB HYLAND: We’re all really excited to be covering live sports events again this weekend. We begin with Royal Ascot at 9:00 a.m. and continue with Premier League soccer and then back to us for the Belmont Stakes at 2:45 eastern. Really excited to be covering the sport of horse racing and back in the production control room, which I’ll get into in a second.

The Belmont Stakes is perhaps the biggest sports event this country has seen since the pandemic hit nearly 100 days ago, and yes, this American Classic will look different than it has in the past, but we’re really excited to be part of the 152nd edition of the Belmont Stakes, and we are ready for the challenge.

Dan briefly hit on this, but we will have two production teams. The first team will be based in Belmont, including Britney, Kenny and Larry, as well as camera operators, audio technicians and production support. The second team will be based in Stamford, Connecticut, at NBC Sports headquarters, and that team will include Mike, Randy and the production engineering team that will be assembling the broadcast and integrating all the announcers, including Jerry and Edzo from their respective homes.

All personnel will abide by the social distancing protocols established by both NBC Sports and the New York Racing Association. In total approximately 50 people will be working on this year’s Belmont Stakes. For reference, more than 200 people worked on-site last year at Belmont Stakes.

Our production and engineering teams have completely reimagined this year’s coverage, and through working very closely with our partners at NYRA for additional camera coverage support, we’re confident that the viewer at home will have a very good experience on Saturday.

MIKE TIRICO: Hi, everybody. Great, as Rob said, to be a part of this, and a big thank you to Rob and Pierre Moossa, our director. Rob and Pierre and I team up on Notre Dame football during the fall, and I couldn’t think of any better hands to be in to deal with this complex show, not just for the safety of all of us but also the quality of the production. They’re two of the all-time best and it’s great to have them at the helm of this.

Essentially, this is the biggest event in sports in four months. You go back to four months ago today, February 16th was the Daytona 500 and the NBA All-Star Game, and that was the last time that one of these American Classic events was held. That’s no disrespect to the restart of NASCAR, IndyCar, PGA Tour, the events that followed that, but the next big event after that would have been THE PLAYERS Championship, and I was there and we were on the air in March on the 13th on that Friday morning when sports stopped essentially and nothing happened for quite some time after that.

So it will be great to be at one of these great American Classics. We’ll detail obviously with your questions and our answers how it will be different, but the plan is for all three Triple Crown races to be run. This is an event that has a century and a half of history, and for a kid who grew up in Whitestone, Queens, nine miles from Belmont Park, it is an absolute thrill to be associated with one of these great events and to have the biggest event in sports on TV and contested really in our country for the last four months, so we’re excited about that and look forward to answering your questions.

RANDY MOSS: Well, I know this sounds like something Jerry Bailey should be saying, but heck, I’m just happy to get back in the saddle again. We’ve all been doing little things to try to stay busy. Jerry and I have had a weekly Zoom cast that’s kept us occupied, but it’s really going to be fun to get the band back together again on Saturday, even if we’re going to be at a minimum six feet apart and at a maximum 1,200 miles apart. We’re really looking forward to it.

JERRY BAILEY: I kind of echo what Randy said. I’m glad to just be doing racing again. Listen, it’s not all that much different than history. Yeah, it’s the first one now, it hasn’t always been a mile and a half, so the shorter distance isn’t something that’s never been done before, but we still have a very important race, and we’ve got the best three-year-old in the country. Tiz The Law has been the best three-year-old since January basically, and he remains that. He would have been favored in whatever Triple Crown race we ran first, so we have a superstar that we’re going to see on Saturday. And for me personally, it’s not that much different. We’ve done one of these races before from remote locations, and I basically watch races on television anyway. So I will see exactly what Randy is seeing, and we think so much alike that I don’t think there’s going to be that much of a disconnect, and the race that we did before went really smooth, and I expect this to be that way, as well, and hats off to NBC for putting all this together where it does make it actually easy for us to do it remotely. Thanks.

EDDIE OLCZYK: Well, from the handicapping side of this, kind of talking to a few people and knowing that the New York Racing Association on Belmont day is going to have full fields, plenty of opportunities for handicappers and people looking to wager and get their feet wet, and as Mike had mentioned, and Rob, there hasn’t been a lot going on over the course of the last little while, and a lot of the people that I run with are looking to invest and hopefully make a little bit of money on Saturday, and that’s where I will have my hand in the show from the basement of my home.

Very appreciative for all the hard work by our great horse racing team at NBC to be able to make this all work, having people all in different locations, and that’s why I’m so proud to be on this team, and nobody does it better. Really looking forward to handicapping the card and hopefully cashing a few tickets via the computer or people that are making early bird wagers or wherever they might be able to get their hand on some actual paper and get some bets down.

The one thing, as well, for some people that may not know, in certain areas of our country, horse racing has continued to race through the pandemic, and with obviously certain protocols in place. Some places have been able to do it, some have not. Some have just come afloat: The New York Racing Association in particular here the last couple of weeks. But horse racing seems to have some momentum here and a lot more places are racing, which is great for the people that love it like we do, but most importantly for the equine athletes that have to get out there and do what they do, and we’re looking forward to Saturday’s day at Belmont even though it’s a little different, but looking forward to being a part of our coverage on Saturday.

BRITNEY EURTON: Hey, everyone. I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I am just so grateful to not only be able to cover the Belmont, to have it up and running, but to be on-site, as well. I’ve covered from my bedroom racing three days a week as a part of the NBCSN simulcast shows, and of course it has a very different feel. But coming from a family involved in the industry and kind of to echo Eddie’s sentiments there, to be able to be up and running in the afternoon has meant the world to those involved. It’s exciting to be a part of this unique 2020 edition of the Triple Crown, and I’m very grateful that the New York Racing Association has allowed us to be on-site to give that unique perspective, and just happy to be a part of the team and get back to the track.

I was at Santa Anita just once, so I have a bit of an idea of what these protocols look like in place, so really thrilled to be heading out to New York soon.

KENNY RICE: Well, the obvious is what’s going to be different, not having any people in the stands. But what’s going to be very much the same is once the gate opens, you’re going to be watching a horse race, and we’re going to anticipate who’s going to win it and the excitement of that, and leading up to it, there’s some great stories in here. As Jerry mentioned, Tiz The Law is the three-year-old star this year, and Barclay Tagg is back on the scene. Of course, he had Funny Cide in 2003, and I think it’s an interesting field. Patrick Biancone has surfaced again with Sole Volante, who’s good. Mark Casse is trying to become the first trainer since ’96 to win it back-to-back years. He has Tap It to Win. And then you have Todd Pletcher has a couple of horses; Steve Asmussen a couple; Hall-of-Famer Bill Mott is in it; Linda Rice is trying to become the first female to train the winner of a Triple Crown race. So the story lines and the actual excitement of getting ready for a race even at a mile-and-an-eighth this time at the Belmont, it’s still a Triple Crown race, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

It’s great to be back with the team, and I think the people at home watching will be just as excited as we tell the stories and build up to the start of the Triple Crown season.

LARRY COLLMUS: I’m looking forward to it, as well, of course, like everyone else. This is going to be the 10th Belmont Stakes that I’ve called for NBC. Time sure flies, and I’m definitely looking forward to getting back in action and calling this year’s race, which is going to look and sound different than the ones in the past. Normally, I’d be calling the race from way up top, but I’m going to be down on the third floor calling where the crowd used to be, which is going to be kind of neat down in that area, and the start of the race won’t be right in front of the stands where it usually is, it’ll be as far away as it possibly could at the top of the chute at a mile and an eighth where they almost meet up with the training track at Belmont Park. I think it’s going to be a unique and great way to kick off this year’s Triple Crown, and it’s just great to have racing back, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it.

Q. This is for Kenny and Britney. Could you explain exactly how your access is going to work in terms of interviewing before and after the race on-site?
ROB HYLAND: I will start this one off because we’re going to be briefing Kenny and Britney a little bit later in the week. But we will have the ability to interview subjects, horsemen on-site through a six-foot boom arm, so that our reporters can remain distanced from their subject. In addition, there will be six microphones, one front side and one in the paddock, where interview subjects can go to and our reporters can stand at a distance. But we plan on utilizing a six-foot boom arm for a majority of the roving interviews.

Q. I assume there won’t be any of the interviewing on the track immediately after the race kind of a thing?
ROB HYLAND: No, but really excited about some new audio enhancements for this broadcast, the first of which is we’re planning to mic three jockeys on Belmont Stakes day and integrate those microphones into the overall race mix. Obviously without 90,000 screaming fans, we think the race sounds will significantly enhance the broadcast.

In addition, something that Jerry Bailey did back with ESPN, the NYRA outrider will be wearing a microphone and a high-powered radio that will actually have our broadcast playing out of the radio, so Mike, Jerry and Randy can speak with a winning jockey after the race, and we’re excited about that, as well.

KENNY RICE: Well, it should be useful for finding the winning connections after the race.

BRITNEY EURTON: Surely should, rather than having to run all the way through Belmont Park trying to find them, so yes, that should be an easier moment. But I think those are the moments that you want to see, so it might take a little bit of work from Kenny and I prior to the races to find out exactly who will be there, who won’t be traveling in. Of course owners will not be on-site so we won’t be able to get that reaction necessarily on hand, on-site, but yes, as Kenny mentioned, less running around perhaps in my heels.

Q. Rob, are there other innovations that you will have in place because of having no fans?
ROB HYLAND: Yes, we’ve partnered with both the Breeders’ Cup and America’s Best Racing, and they’ve helped us tremendously in establishing virtual watching parties around the country on Saturday. Belmont fans and sports fans that will be able to integrate into the show in sort of a mosaic visual presentation that Mike and company will address, and in addition we will have the primary ownership connections to the horses in the Belmont Stakes virtually, as well, that we can integrate into the Belmont on Saturday. So we’re excited about that.

Again, without fans there, we wanted to bring the fans to the broadcast any way we could, and that’s how we plan on doing it this weekend.

Q. Larry, in terms of doing your call, is it impacted at all or do you think you’ll be impacted by the fact there won’t be a crowd?
LARRY COLLMUS: I was thinking about that earlier. I don’t think so. I think that the main difference is the lead-up to the race where you hear the crowd. I mean, the New York crowd at Belmont Park is always really loud as the horses get up to the starting gate because they start right in front of the stands, and it sort of pumps you up and gets you into that feeling. But once the race starts you’re in your own zone, so even like the Kentucky Derby where there’s 150,000 people there, I don’t really hear the crowd. I think it’s before the race that is going to be a little different for me rather than during the race.

Q. Question for Jerry and Mike: Reshuffling the Triple Crown calendar, so to speak, what do you think that could mean for the perception and interest in the Belmont Stakes this year, and moving forward if that has any impact, and what does this do, if anything, to the Derby in those same ways?
JERRY BAILEY: So I think the fact that it’s the first major horse race of the season, the first classic, there’s still going to be huge interest in the race. You know, the change in the distance, I don’t think that has a great bearing on whether people are going to watch or not going to watch. I think the biggest attraction that we have is we have the best three-year-old in the country in this race, and he has, as I said earlier -- he has been, and I do think that there has been some change in some people’s plans heading to the Derby, maybe not running in the Belmont and getting there a different way. But the most important horse that we have in the three-year-old picture right now has not changed his plans at all. It is let me go in the first one, which happens to be the Belmont, and take the next one as it comes, which right now is going to be the Kentucky Derby. So, for the biggest star, his plans haven’t changed at all.

MIKE TIRICO: I’ll take this from a couple different sides to the apple here. First off, you’ll get a Belmont year where maybe you have the winner of one of the Triple Crown races. Hopefully you have the horse that has won the Derby and the Preakness, and obviously the interest level slots in a different place depending on who’s coming to the post for the Belmont. So, the interest level for the Belmont has always varied from the ardent heart horse player to the years where there’s been a Triple Crown on the line and you’ll bring in other casual fans. So you have that.

I think because, as mentioned, it’s the first and the biggest race of the year to date, that will change a little bit of perspective on that, and also, like I said, we’re four months removed from the last big-time sporting event in the United States, one of those American Classics, so I think those will factor in to juice this up a little bit.

After the Derby, as Jerry said, I’m sure we’ll get into this in the show, there are some horsemen who made decisions to kind of plot their horses for what’s going to suit them best to the ready for the first Saturday in September and the Kentucky Derby 77 days, 11 weeks after the Belmont. So, the Derby I think will still have its unique feel, even though it’ll be in that second spot in the Triple Crown race.

Like everything else, it’s a little bit different. It’s altered. There are adjustments involved. But at the end of the day, it is pretty close to finding the same historical chapter where these races have been in the past. I applaud everyone for doing the right thing to keep people safe, reschedule, and still try to make sure that this annual tradition continues.

Q. Jerry, you mentioned obviously the best three-year-old in the country. What stood out to you about his victory in the Florida Derby and how impressive that was?
JERRY BAILEY: Well, I’ll take it one race back from there in the Holy Bull, his first outing of the year. He had been a horse that had been a little bit aggressive early in the race, and he was that day, and the jockey kind of got into a wrestling match with him to try and relax him as they knew they were going to go longer distances later on in the season. It was important for trainer Barclay Tagg to get this horse to relax off the early leaders, and it was a struggle that day. He did it kind of against his will, but I think at the Florida Derby he was much more receptive to the jockey coaxing him back off the early leaders which makes him more effective, and he certainly was. It was just a picture-perfect trip. He was always in a good position up close within a few lengths but in a relaxed manner, which suggests that he has enough speed for a shorter race like the Belmont is this year, but as they go on to a mile-and-a-quarter of the Derby, he will be equally effective, and just makes him a better horse, which is what I took from the Florida Derby that made him so impressive is his learning curve got there very quick, and he learned to do what the rider wanted him to do.

Q. Eddie, obviously you do a lot of your handicapping off-site, probably most of your handicapping. I’m wondering, what difference does it make versus being there versus not being there?
EDDIE OLCZYK: Well, I mean, the energy, and I think Larry touched on that when he was asked a question about the crowd and being on-site and trying to get from -- for me, I don’t move around as much as a lot of other people on our show, but to go from the paddock to the winner’s circle or whatever, it’s a relatively easy trip trying to stick handle my way through some people every once in a while. But there is something to being at the track. I mean, that’s what I’m going to miss the most, besides being with my teammates on-site, is being there at the track and the feel and the smell and the excitement of one of the jewels of the Triple Crown, and it just happens to be this year the first one.

I think other than that, really during this whole pandemic what I’m going to be doing Saturday is what I’ve been doing pretty much for the last 110 straight days: Sitting in my house and handicapping whatever track happens to be on my television. Yeah, it’s going to be different for sure, but this is a different time for all of us, and my job is going to be to try to entertain and give people opinions on races, and I’m sure Jerry won’t be bashful about knocking down some of my picks every once in a while, but that’s okay.

But yeah, that’s what I’m going to miss the most is being on-site because there is that rush. There is that -- just that feel of excitement and the horses going by you and you’re seeing people and you’re talking to people. That’s how it’s going to be really different for me from working from home for the show.

Q. Does it affect -- are you better able to handicap on-site than not? Does it affect the quality of your picks at all?
EDDIE OLCZYK: Let’s talk at about 6:00 on Saturday night and maybe then we’ll be able to decipher. You know, I think it’s a fair question, but a lot of my handicapping in many ways is done the day before, a couple of days before, but then you have to take into consideration weather, how the track is playing, is there a certain element on the turf course or on the dirt track that is maybe more suitable to different horses. You know, it’s probably going to be -- it’s probably less hectic to be working from home than it would be on-site when it comes to that. Again, not knowing the roles and the parts that I’m going to have in the show, but like I said, it’s all a part of the so-called new normal that we’re working under right now, and I’m looking forward to it. But hopefully I’ll be able to have at least a couple of winners on Saturday and make a few bucks for everybody.

Q. Rob, just following up on some of the things you mentioned during your opening comments, you said that you worked with NYRA on some additional cameras, a larger camera complement. Are we going to see anything like drones or additional things there? And then also, how is that going to impact you and Pierre’s ability to cover the actual action? What’s your strategy as a result of those changes?
ROB HYLAND: We’re going to have seven of our own cameras, which includes an aerial, a helicopter that will hover over the venue during our broadcast window. But in addition, NYRA has nearly two dozen cameras that cover racing every day, and during our broadcast window we’re going to be working closely with their director, who’s almost going to sub-cut for our production, so if Pierre has one high hard iso camera, they’re going to be shooting the next horse in line for Pierre because we only have one high camera. It’s really going to be a coordinated effort between their production control room and ours to supplement our coverage to make a seven camera show feel like a 30-camera show.

Q. This is a two-part question for Jerry and Randy. You guys have mentioned Tiz The Law’s star power. Are you surprised or disappointed that the field around him has fallen apart a little bit? And then part two would be is it a cool story for you to see Barclay Tagg, who we don’t see with a horse like this every year, back on this kind of stage?
RANDY MOSS: It is cool to have Barclay back, obviously. He’s had some horses in the Kentucky Derby. I think he’s had four of them since Funny Cide back in 2003, but I guess I’ll go ahead and say this even though Barclay will get very, very irritated with me as we came to find out yesterday. If Barclay were to win the Belmont Stakes, it’s believed that he’d be the oldest trainer ever to do so. He’s 82 years old, but he still trains a full complement of horses at the New York track. He still gets on his pony and he accompanies Tiz The Law to the track sometimes to the track when he’s going to work out. You would never know he’s 82 years old by being around him, but yeah, it’s going to even be pretty cool in any number of ways to have Barclay back.

Q. You’ve talked about Tiz The Law’s star power, but has it surprised you or disappointed you at all that the field around him has maybe diminished a little bit over the last few weeks?
JERRY BAILEY: Yeah, I mean, there was a point in time where it was going to be an All-Star field. Nadal was going to be in there; there was a good chance Charlatan was going to be in there; a horse called Maxfield was going to be in there, at least strongly considering it. Those were probably the top four horses in the country, three-year-olds, but injury. It’s like any sport, injuries happen, and Maxfield was injured; Nadal was injured and retired; Charlatan is not retired but he had a minor injury. Those are the kind of things that happen even leading up to the Kentucky Derby every year we see it. We saw the throat issue last year with Dick Mandella’s colt.

Look, it shaped up to be just like an unbelievable superstar type of race, and the only reason it’s not as strong now was because of injuries. It’s not because people just decided I’m not going to run in the Belmont now.

RANDY MOSS: And also, the only horses right now that I can think of off the top of my head that are in training that we can say, oh, man, it’s just really too bad these horses aren’t in the Belmont would be Honor AP and Authentic, the 1-2 finishers of the Santa Anita Derby, and the only reason they’re not in the Belmont is because Santa Anita got back running before Belmont Park did and scheduled the Santa Anita Derby sort of in conflict with the Belmont Stakes for whatever reason. They scheduled the Santa Anita Derby for June 6th, so no horse is going to run the Santa Anita Derby and ship across the country and run in the Belmont Stakes two weeks later. If it weren’t for that, we’d probably have both horses in the Belmont Stakes, but Tiz The Law is the top dog right now in the three-year-old division, and it’s huge that we do have him in the Belmont.

Q. Mike and Rob, who are some of the innovations you’re going to be using for this race and future races that you see continuing once the epidemic has passed and the fans are back?
ROB HYLAND: Mike was on a call with our production staff earlier today, and I think in general, I think the last few months have taught us that being perfect, although that’s what we strive for in television every day, is maybe not as important as it was, and to find new ways to tell stories. Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss have been doing virtual chats with horsemen this week and we’re going to turn that into a feature element. Obviously, with social distancing we can’t have them interacting and sitting down with horsemen. So I think the way we present sports, when the gates open, it’s going to look the same, but what we do around each race will feel a little bit different, and hopefully reflect the world we’re living in now.

In addition, I think there’s a lot more I think we can do through audio. I mentioned earlier the jockey mics, and I think as long as venues are crowdless, I think listening in on a trainer’s final instructions to a jockey before a race could be great access that we’ve never really had before because we’ve always showcased the hundreds of thousands of people in attendance. I think it will hopefully create a more intimate experience for the viewer at home, and you’ll see some of that and hear some of that on Saturday.

MIKE TIRICO: I hope some of this doesn’t last, honestly, because sports is not the same without fans. Sports is not the same without all of us having access to the athletes, in this case the connections, and it’s also not the same in the broadcast world without all of us spending time together. We’re usually in a couple of trailers where we do our work on-site, and I’ll get to a point where I’m going over my notes for the show and there may be something that Britney is going to be doing a report on, I’ll walk down and walk 10 feet and talk to Britney about hey, Britney, what are you thinking about asking here, what are you thinking about saying here so we can make it a smooth broadcast. We’re not going to have those opportunities without all of us being together.

I think for all of us, it becomes double the work to make sure that the show is of the same quality.

Now, can we use technology and those different things like seeing all the owners, the virtual watch parties, to get a broader scope of how we broadcast big events? Yes, I think the NFL Draft showed us that in some ways, and I think you’ll see elements of that. But instead of thinking about what we’re going to keep around, a lot of my thoughts have been what I really miss about what has made our team successful and I think most teams successful, and that’s the personal interaction, so that’s going to be, I think, a major job for us to use technology just to communicate with each other so that on the air the viewer is still getting the same level of information, the same level of storytelling and the same documentation of the event as it goes on.

ROB HYLAND: We’re all experiencing the clunkiness of not being near each other right now like we normally are where we can all make eye contact. Again, that’s one of the challenges, but Mike touched upon our director Pierre Moossa, who also oversees Premier League soccer, and man, when I tell you that it’s an old trade, but we are in the communication business, and this production will require the ultimate communication between the production team, the on-air announcers and the technical crew because so much about this production is new and different than anything we’ve ever done before. Even hearing Mike say the note passing to Britney and walking 10 feet, that is now done through a Zoom call, an email, but just the layers of communication every member of the crew have to be so on point for a show like this to be successful.

RANDY MOSS: Yeah, I was just going to jump in unsolicited with something here, about the topic of talking with jockeys on the track in particular before a race. Rob kind of alluded to this a little bit earlier. But for the lack of a better word, Jerry and I kind of pioneered that about 20 years ago back at ESPN when Jerry was still a jockey and I was on the ESPN desk as an analyst. They came up with the idea of doing something like that, and so I actually went to Jerry in the jockeys’ room and said, hey, how would you feel about talking to me on the air right before a race when you’re on the track about your strategy and about what you might be thinking. And Jerry’s response was, hey, I’ll be glad to do it on one condition: You have to get to me well before we line up and walk single file to the starting gate because I don’t want any of the other jockeys to hear me talking about strategy. So, I’ll take my horse way away from the other horses, and then when I’m by myself, you and I can have a conversation about strategy.

And so that’s what we did multiple times. Jerry and I would talk to each other about his race strategy. And I remember there were a couple of times when just because of circumstances they decided to try to get to Jerry late when he was lined up to go to the starting gate, and I would tell them, nope, don’t do it, don’t do it, he’s not going to talk to you. But they would try, and sure enough, Jerry would pretend like he didn’t hear them because there was no way he was going to start revealing strategy when the other jockeys were around him. So, it’ll be fun to do that again.

Q. To follow up with Larry on something you said earlier about your positioning, I guess in the past you’ve been in that track announcer booth way up in the sky but now you’ll be much lower. Can you talk about exactly where that is? Is this the press box, or where will you be exactly?
LARRY COLLMUS: Rob Hyland probably could answer that better than I can. Rob, do you know exactly?

ROB HYLAND: It’s on the third floor at Belmont on the camera deck platform. I believe right now NYRA is doing their simulcast on that level, and that’s also the level where our announce booth is typically located with Mike, Jerry and Randy. So about 40 feet below his normal perch, and literally in the stands on a platform.

Q. Larry, in terms of the old-fashioned track announcer booth, for the people doing it from up there, is that a pretty -- even when there’s 100,000 people there, is that a fairly isolating place to be for the track announcer?
LARRY COLLMUS: It is pretty isolating. Of course it varies place to place. At Belmont Park it is pretty isolated up there. It’s quite a bit higher than most announcers’ booths, and it is glass enclosed, so you don’t get a whole lot of crowd noise that you hear except when American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, and that crowd noise would have gone through any amount of glass from any feet up. Yeah, normally it’s pretty quiet up there. Again, this year it’ll be quiet where I am only because there’s nobody there so there’s no crowd. But yeah, I’m definitely a lot closer to where the crowd should be in normal situations.

Q. Rob, you said you’re going to have seven cameras. How many would you have in a normal year?
ROB HYLAND: In a normal Belmont Stakes Triple Crown? We’d have about 25 cameras.

Q. And so when you say that you’re going to be using the NYRA cameras, do you feel like -- obviously you’re not trying for perfection, which is understandable, but do you think it will look different to the racing viewer when they watch? How do you think that will look to people?
ROB HYLAND: As I mentioned, when the gates open -- from the time the horses are on the track until the winning horse crosses the finish line, it’s not going to look any different. I’ll clarify my perfection statement. I just think people are getting used to seeing Zoom chats and interviews being done without elaborate camera setups and lighting setups. That was more to the post-production side. But the actual coverage of the sporting event should look no different other than the fact that there are no fans in attendance to you or anyone watching at home.

–NBC SPORTS–