Ahead of this weekend’s Kentucky Derby, ESPN debuted “Bloodlines,” written and told by senior writer Wright Thompson. The three-part series is the first podcast in ESPN’s new storytelling feed, ESPN Investigates. The podcast begins with questions about the mysterious recent death of thoroughbred horses in California and ends with troubling answers about how the changing business of racing – once America’s most popular sport – has impacted every part of the sport, including the blood of the horses themselves. All three episodes are available now on the ESPN App, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and wherever podcasts are available.
“Bloodlines” is part investigation, part true crime story, and part meditation on the future of a sport and of an American way of life,” said Thompson. “We hope folks will agree with us that it is unlike any podcast in the market – rich storytelling, deep consideration, and reveals that make you rethink things you may have thought you’ve known.”
This new “ESPN Investigates” collection of podcasts will be home to fascinating deep dives across the world of sports and will feature investigative reporting that uncovers hidden truths and introduces unforgettable characters. Following “Bloodlines” will be “The Running Man,” the story of an obscure former Olympian and alleged serial sexual predator – and the 14-month ESPN investigation that brought him out of the shadows. Additional podcasts to be announced.
“We know sports fans really connect with our investigative features across various platforms, on stories both familiar and unexplored,” said Alison Overholt, Senior Vice President, Multiplatform Storytelling and Journalism. “Curating these stories into an ‘ESPN Investigates’ feed gives this incredible reporting a home, and we’re thrilled that Wright’s fascinating series ‘Bloodlines,’ featuring his signature immersive storytelling, will be the first to premiere.”
Episodes of “Bloodlines” are available now for fans to binge-listen. The episode lineup includes:
Episode 1 – “When A Horse Dies”
An examination of the 49 dead horses at Santa Anita. This episode examines the theories into what happened and the effect it has all had on the people who live and work at the track.
Episode 2 – “Inheritance”
A look into the history of thoroughbred horse racing in America from the family dynasties that rose during the Industrial Revolution all the way through the 20th century, when a possible murder changed all of this from a sport to a business.
Episode 3 – “The House Is Condemned”
A trip to the breeding farms of Kentucky where the fastest horses in the world are made, but not without also passing on the dangerous defects in their blood. All of this will lead us to examine the question: What is the future of horse racing?
ESPN Audio launched its first podcast in 2005 and is a leader in the sports genre – in 2019 ESPN Podcasts were downloaded in total a record 425 million times, by on average six million listeners a month – with more than 35 original offerings, plus shows from ESPN Radio and television. Offerings focus on “sports passions” (NFL, NBA, MLB, etc.), storytelling (30 for 30 and ESPN Daily with Mina Kimes) and compelling personalities. The most popular titles include 30 for 30, Fantasy Focus Football, The Lowe Post, and podcasts of ESPN Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, and TV’s First Take.