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Cable’s new rein dance

Horse Channel aims to burst out of the starting gate in fall

Hello, Wilbur.

The Gabelli Group Capital Partners and other investors are betting there are enough people in the U.S. who are so crazy about horses they’ll pony up $5 or more a month to buy a proposed network called the Horse Channel.

Founded by Sally Lasater, prexy of the California-based Horse TV Media Group, the net has put together a library of hundreds of hours of horse-related programs accumulated over the last two decades .

Programming includes Olympic equestrian events, World Cup dressage, World Cup showjumping, rodeos, docs about horses and even “funniest homevideos of horses gone ‘harmlessly haywire.’ ”

George Greenberg, chairman and CEO, previously helped put together business plans for the Golf Channel and Sci Fi Channel, among others. He and his staff are talking to cable operators and satellite distribs about sharing the monthly fee coughed up by subscribers, who’d need a digital box to get the Horse Channel.

Aiming to burst out of the starting gate in late fall, the channel would also sell commercial time and sponsorships to advertisers seeking an upscale aud.

The network will trot around anything smacking of live horse races and pari-mutuel betting; state laws on gambling make it a risky proposition for nationally distributed networks geared to people who bet on the horses.

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