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High Definition

As most sports junkies will attest to, high definition television might be the single greatest invention in the last hundred years. Okay, maybe that's a little over the top but HD certainly has made watching sports a much more enjoyable experience, at least for my.

Some sports are infinitely better in HD than they are in Standard Definition, while for some sports it really doesn't matter. In my opinion, baseball, basketball and tennis in HD is very nice but the real winners of the HD age are football, hockey, and auto/horse racing.

Horse racing is a sport where the HD revolution has been very slow with essentially the Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup races as the only ones broadcast in HD. This year, the Santa Anita Derby is scheduled to be broadcast in HD by NBC, making it the first non-Triple Crown/Breeders' Cup race to get HD treatment. One of the prime benefits of horse racing in HD is the ability to clearly make out the horses numbers and jockey silks on the backstretch. The 16x9 aspect ratio is also a plus as it allows much more of the field to be included in the picture.

Every year, including this one, ESPN broadcasts the Kentucky Oaks along with most of the Kentucky Derby under card. Last year neither of these two events were done in HD, and it appears that this year will be no different, which is a shame. ESPN routinely broadcasts NHRA drag racing in HD, along with the World Series of Poker. I would hope that the Kentucky Oaks and the Derby undercard could be elevated to at least that level.