NBC Sports will kick off coverage of the 2005 Visa Triple Crown season Saturday with a two-hour telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby." The broadcast begins 4 p.m. ET and will feature live coverage of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) from Santa Anita Park; Wood Memorial (gr. I) from Aqueduct.; and the Illinois Derby (gr. II) from Hawthorne Race Course.
- By Tom Precious
A rift has developed among the partners in Triple Crown Productions, which holds the television rights to the three grade I Visa Triple Crown events: the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park.
NBC Sports' coverage of Saturday's 136th Belmont Stakes June 5 generated the event's highest overnight rating in 27 years.
There is plenty of sunshine in the final tally from last weekend's Sunshine Millions according to a press release issued by Magna Entertainment Corp. MEC reports the second running of the Sunshine Millions eclipsed last year's successes, both on track and in the home.
NBC Sports has won the Eclipse Award for National Television – Live Racing Programming for its production of the 2003 Preakness Stakes, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Jan. 14. Other media Eclipse Award winners were also named.
The 1 1/2-hour Belmont Stakes telecast on NBC produced an overnight rating of 10.4, the highest for any horse race since the 1990 Kentucky Derby and the highest for a Belmont since 1987, when ratings were introduced. The overnight rating for the race exceeded overnight ratings for other major sporting events over the weekend.
With the buzz growing ever louder over another potential Triple Crown winner, the racing industry is marshalling its marketing forces to make sure the public at large becomes aware of what's at stake at Belmont Park June 7.
Coverage of the May 17 Preakness Stakes on NBC from 5-6:45 p.m. (EDT) earned a 5.6 overnight rating and a 15 share, compared with a 6.5 overnight rating and 15 share in 2002.
NBC Sports has won the Media Eclipse Award for National Television - Live Racing Programming for its production of the 2002 Preakness Stakes.
A conflict with a four-day Future Farmers of America convention has moved the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships' return to Churchill Downs from 2005 to 2006. Belmont Park is expected to hold the event in 2005.
The last Saturday in October in 2005 works for NBC Sports in regard to coverage of the World Thoroughbred Championships, but Breeders' Cup might have another problem.
NBC Sport's coverage of the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) earned a final rating of 7.6 and captured 21% of the viewing audience. The rating was highest since 1989 when the race earned an 8.5.
The final television ratings for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) fell one rating point from a year ago to 7.1 and captured 18% of the viewing audience.
NBC Sports kicks off coverage of horseracing's 3-year-old picture Saturday with a 90-minute telecast of "NTRA's Road to the Kentucky Derby." The show will air from 4:30-6 p.m. (ET) and will feature live coverage of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) from Keeneland.
NBC Sports has won the Eclipse Award for National Television-Live Racing Programming for its production of the 2001 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.
The five-hour Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championship telecast on NBC earned a 1.7 rating and captured 4% of the viewing audience. They were the lowest ratings the championship has ever received.
Since the official Kentucky Derby (gr. I) chart began listing an "off" time in 1963, the race has never started past 5:42.30, the estimated post time of the 1971 running won by Canonero II. That will change this year.
A heavy-duty cable that runs the length of stretch at Churchill Downs will hold a camera that will give television viewers a European-style look at the Breeders' Cup.
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