Night School: ‘Countdown to the Crown’
Night School makes its first foray into a new medium this Tuesday as the racing industry's national online fan education program partners with Sirius/XM satellite radio for a special dual-presentation. “Countdown to the Crown” will be the subject matter featured in the 2013 season's Week 2 lesson plan, and fans can take in the teachings both online and on the radio dial. Now in its third full season of 40-week instructional classes online, Night School teams with “At the Races with Steve Byk” for what promises to be the most interactive lesson yet. More than 1350 students took in opening week of Night School last Tuesday.
“A radio broadcast is an exciting new spin for Night School,” said the program's co-founder, Horse Player NOW's Joe Kristufek. “With the chat room open, we don't lose an ounce of interactivity. Concurrent with the live stream, fans will be afforded the opportunity to type their opinions on the subject being discussed, and ask questions directly to Jeremy Plonk, Steve Byk and our stellar line-up of guests.”
“SiriusXM has been committed to the horse racing industry, horseplayers and fans since its inception,” said Byk. “And it's a pleasure for me to help widen the reach of Night School through ‘At the Races.' The opportunity for live interaction should further engage Night Schoolers, and I think it will add a new dimension of fun to the sessions.”
Students attending Night School will be able to access the free, live audio stream/radio signal in a myriad of ways. Any of the more than 40 Night School syndicate sites around the racing industry that offer the program weekly will be viable destinations for both the live chat and the audio stream. Within the chat console, links to the free stream will be made available throughout the night. Simply enter the Night School console at 8:30 p.m. ET and join in. Participation is free, and fans need not be subscribers to Sirius/XM satellite radio in order to listen to the program.
The Triple Crown trail talk will be lively on Tuesday as special guests in the live classroom will include Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, his NBC Sports partner and renowned racing analyst Randy Moss, Kentuckyderby.com's Jill Byrne of Churchill Downs and Daily Racing Form national correspondent Jay Privman. Follow @Horseplayernow on Twitter for late-breaking announcements on this week's special jockey/trainer guests. The Night School instructors also will compare and contrast the Triple Crown seasons throughout the breeds, including American Quarter Horse and Harness racing.
Night School attendees will be able to pose questions to all of the guests in two manners: the live chat module, which will automatically relay questions to the guests for answering on the air; or by joining the “At the Races with Steve Byk” live call-in show at 1-866-454-6848. Those wishing to listen in on the radio can find the program from 8:30-10:00 p.m. ET on Sirius 93, XM 209 or at Sports Zone 961 for Sirius Online users.
The audio streaming portion of Night School will be directed by Byk and engineer Casey Ghee, who produce the Monday-Friday program “At the Races with Steve Byk” on Sirius/XM from 9:00 a.m.–12:00 noon ET weekdays. Night School was founded and produced weekly by Horse Player NOW's Kristufek and Plonk. Kristufek and the “Night School Dean” will moderate the chat portion of this week's lesson, while Plonk will join Byk and the guests on the air.
For those who cannot attend live, the Night School archives always are available free immediately following the session and thereafter. A recorded mp3 file of the audio portion of Tuesday's Night School will be edited back into the chat console in post-production, so fans won't miss a minute of what's said, even if they are viewing in the archives in the weeks, months and years to come. The complete audio archive will be available on Wednesday.
The 90-minute classes are offered every Tuesday for 40 consecutive weeks through Dec. 3. Topics change weekly, and fans are eligible for prizes and rewards for registering. Registration is optional and free. There is never a charge for taking part in Night School. The weekly program is offered in three media: live chat via the Cover It Live live blogging/chat forum, audio/radio streaming and full video lesson plans. The media of delivery is based on the subject matter and alternates throughout the season.
Presenting title sponsors for Night School are the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, American Quarter Horse Association, Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Inc., and the United States Trotting Association.
This week's Night School will be followed at 10:00 p.m. ET by the “After Night School Special,” featuring live racing from Mountaineer Park. The segment will cover the evening's final race in real time with free, live-streaming video. Fans wishing to take part in the Mountaineer action simply need to remain in the Night School chat after class.
The Night School lessons continue each week with the all-new “Night School Friday Night Live” from Remington Park, featuring expert analysis and live chat for an entire card of action with complimentary live streaming video. The Friday live chats—co-hosted by track announcer Dale Day, morning line maker Jerry Shottenkirk and Horse Player NOW's Jeremy Plonk—begin at 6:30 p.m. ET and extend through the evening's final race.
This week's Night School preview video by Joe Kristufek and Jeremy Plonk:
This week's study materials, courtesy of Horse Player NOW: