NBC Sports Network to Air 4 Elite Thoroughbred Prep Races
NBCSN will cover four elite Thoroughbred prep races over the next two weekends leading into NBC Sports Group's exclusive coverage of the Triple Crown races, it was announced today.
The racing telecasts kick off this Saturday, March 29 on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET, with the Florida Derby from Gulfstream Park and the Louisiana Derby from Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Last year's Florida Derby winner Orb went to Churchill Downs as the favorite and emerged as the champion, while the Louisiana Derby featured Palace Malice, who won the 2013 Belmont Stakes.
A week later, on Saturday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will televise the Wood Memorial from Aqueduct Racetrack and the Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita Park. Eleven times, the Wood Memorial winner has won the Kentucky Derby, with four of those Victorious horses winning the Triple Crown. The Santa Anita winner has gone on to victory at Churchill Downs seven times, including I'll Have Another, who captured both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 2012.
"We are eager to present these important prep races, which build excitement and interest as we head into the Kentucky Derby and the beginning of our Triple Crown season of Thoroughbred racing," said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC and NBCSN.
COMMENTATORS: NBCSN's coverage features host Tom Hammond, whose first-ever assignment for NBC was as a reporter three decades ago on the network's 1984 Breeders' Cup broadcast. He is joined by Hall-of-Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who has won each Triple Crown race twice; veteran horse racing analyst Randy Moss; and contributing analyst/handicapper Bob Neumeier. NBC's Triple Crown race caller Larry Collmus, the track announcer at Gulfstream Park, will call this Saturday's Florida Derby on NBCSN.
NBC Sports Group's live Triple Crown coverage begins Friday, May 2 on NBCSN with the Kentucky Oaks. On Saturday May 3, NBC presents the 140th Kentucky Derby. NBC Sports Group's Triple Crown coverage continues with telecasts from the Preakness Stakes May 16-17 and the Belmont Stakes June 6-7 on NBC and NBCSN.
QUOTES FROM RACETRACK REPRESENTATIVES:
Mike Rogers, president of The Stronach Group, Racing Division: "The Stronach Group is pleased that two of its signature events, the Florida Derby and the Santa Anita Derby, will be part of NBC Sports Group's Triple Crown coverage. We look forward to having our world-class facilities at both Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park showcased on these historic days. We also look forward to watching the many Triple Crown contenders stabled and training throughout The Stronach Group properties taking part in these exciting races in the weeks ahead."
Tim Bryant, president, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots: "Fair Grounds is extremely excited to showcase the $1 million Louisiana Derby before a national television audience. Our Championship Series race on the 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' should provide compelling drama and future stars if recent results are any indicator. Last year's field produced three of the top five finishers in the Kentucky Derby along with eventual Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice. Additionally, the Louisiana Derby has produced two of the last three Breeders' Cup Classic winners in Mucho Macho Man and Drosselmeyer. We look forward to showcasing our sport's top talent once again on Saturday with NBCSN."
Chris Kay, CEO and president, The New York Racing Association, Inc.: "We are proud that NBCSN's Triple Crown spotlight will again be shining on Aqueduct Racetrack where we have recently invested $5.9 million in guest-focused enhancements. This year's $1 million Wood Memorial shapes up as a first-rate renewal of one of America's most storied springtime races for top 3-year-olds."
NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when the NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown. In 2013, the NBC Sports Group presented 27½ hours of Triple Crown coverage across NBC and NBCSN.