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September 29, 1997|LARRY STEWART

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: "Santa Anita Live"


Where: Fox Sports West 2

When: 4 p.m. every race day except 2 p.m. on Sundays.

The Santa Anita racetrack is getting a $12-million makeover for the opening of the Oak Tree meeting Wednesday, and the one-hour, race-day television show that started with the January launch of Fox Sports West 2 will also have a new look. The show will become what track officials believe is the first interactive sports show in the country.

Here's how it works: Sign on to your computer and go to Santa Anita's web site at Then turn on Fox Sports West 2, if your cable company offers it, for "Santa Anita Live." Punch in a question or a statement and you'll likely soon see it on the TV screen.

However, don't try to slip in any bad words or inappropriate comments. There are editors who check everything before it gets on the screen, and even if an editor misses something there are electronic checks that work something like a spell check. Amy Zimmerman, Santa Anita's director of broadcasting, calls the checkers "gatekeepers."

The shows, which include two live features and some earlier taped races, are hosted by Kurt Hoover, Carolyn Conley and Jay Privman, who will be able to see what the viewers are saying and can comment appropriately. The producer and director can also react. "It's really a show that the viewers will control," Zimmerman says. "We'll give them what they want if we can.

"We're trying to generate more interest in horse racing among young people, and we think this is a good way to do it."

"Santa Anita Live" on Fox Sports West 2 does not replace the nightly half-hour results shows carried on race day by Channel 56 at 8 p.m. and Fox Sports West, usually at midnight.

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