Casella beat stampede of Smarty Jones supporters

CN8 sports reporter Bruce Casella should not be counted as part of the media who has jumped on the Smarty Jones bandwagon.

"Always a horse racing lover," Casella spent lots of time at the historic Keeneland track in Lexington, Ky., while a student at Eastern Kentucky University.

Along with the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horse Racing Association (PTHA), Casella owns "Let's Go Racing," now in its 14th year, which airs on CN8 at 2:30 p.m. and midnight on Fridays.

However, with his duties at CN8 and his Haddonfield, N.J., restaurant, "Casella's Italian Caf‚," Casella had to "fire himself" as the host of the show. Bucks county resident Dick Jerardi and Philadelphia Park announcer Keith Jones (not the Flyer and not related to Smarty) host the show.

"Because of my relationship with Philadelphia Park, I was given exclusive access to [Smarty Jones' trainer] John Servis before and during the Kentucky Derby," Casella said. Casella used his own vacation time to travel to Churchill Downs for the Derby and also covered the Preakness Stakes.

While Smarty has been training at Philadelphia Park, Casella personally has been shooting video of the horse, including his 5 a.m. gallops. He will file live reports from the Belmont Stakes beginning mid-week.

CSN special

Comcast SportsNet will broadcast the 2004 Belmont Stakes draw live next Wednesday, beginning at 11 a.m. The hour-long program will feature the draw itself and analysis of the Belmont field.

WBCB special

WBCB 1490-AM also has been along for the exciting ride with Smarty Jones. As it did for the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, WBCB will air a special before the Belmont Stakes live from Philadelphia Park next week.

Talkin' baseball

Newtown resident Jayson Stark of will be appearing on ESPN 920-AM from 6-7 p.m. on Thursdays.

Sweeps battle

In the battle of the Sunday night sports shows for May sweeps, WCAU's "Sports Final" leads with a 5 rating/10 share. KYW's "Sports Access" has a 3 rating/7 share. They air at 11:30 p.m. At 10:45 p.m., WTXF's "Sports Sunday" has a 4 rating/5 share. Each rating point equals 28,743 households.

Korny show

One of the new shows on CBS in the fall will be a sitcom starring Jason Alexander based on the life of ESPN personality and journalist Tony Kornheiser.

How about a show about a Philadelphia sports media columnist? Is Jennifer Aniston available?

Laura Nachman covers television and radio sports for the Courier Times. She can be reached at

May 28, 2004 7:11 AM