Anne M. Eberhardt

NBC Plans 6 1/2 Hours of Preakness Coverage

NBC handicappers expect Derby winner Orb to win Preakness Stakes May 18.

Fresh off the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) that generated strong ratings, NBC plans 6 1/2 hours of Preakness Stakes (gr. I) coverage beginning May 17.

Coverage begins from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore at 3 p.m. EDT May 17 on NBC Sports Network, and culminates with the Preakness Stakes coverage, which begins at 4:30 p.m. EDT May 18 on NBC.

NBC handicappers Bob Neumeier and Mike Battaglia believe Derby winner Orb  is well-positioned to add a Preakness victory.

"Orb will not be as far back as he was in the Derby. There are fewer horses, probably a less frenetic pace, so I think you'll see him in the neighborhood between five and ten lengths back halfway through the race, which is fine. That's kind of where he wants to be," Neumeier said. "There are a number of early speed horses that will set him up. It actually sets up perfectly for him and barring something crazy, he's by far the horse to beat. I think he's going to go off the in the neighborhood of even money or 4-5."

Battaglia believes Orb can adjust to different pace styles if needed.

"This horse has really nice Triple Crown possibilities about him. He's just so versatile and he's so good right now," Battaglia said. "I love the fact that he's on the five-race win streak and he just keeps getting better. And every race has been better than the last one. His trainer, Shug McGaughey, is such a good horseman. If there's anybody that can keep a horse ready in five weeks, it's Shug. This horse has a legitimate chance to win the Triple Crown."

NBC Sports' coverage of the Kentucky Derby drew 16.2 million viewers, making it the second most-watched Kentucky Derby since 1989. The viewership for the race is up nine percent from last year's Derby (14.8 million) and up 12 percent from the Derby in 2011 (14.5 million).

NBC's coverage of the 138th Preakness Stakes will be co-hosted by 25-time Emmy Award-winner Bob Costas and NBC's veteran horse racing commentator Tom Hammond.

NBC Sports Group's live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets will stream Preakness coverage. The majority of the content will be streamed live via "TV Everywhere," the media industry's effort to make quality content available to authenticated customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

Content for the Preakness includes:
• An online-only isolation camera on Kentucky Derby winner Orb during the race;
• Online-only analysis and commentary by NBC Sports commentators in the days leading up to race and post race;
• Replays and highlights from the Kentucky Derby and earlier prep races;
• A video simulation of how this year's Preakness might play out with 2013 Preakness entrants in virtual competition simulating Preakness conditions and track.

Preakness Stakes Television Schedule
Fri. May 17 
3-4 p.m. Preakness Classics, NBC Sports Network
4-5 p.m. Black Eyed Susan Stakes, NBC Sports Network
Sat. May 18 
2:30-4:30 p.m. Preakness Stakes Saturday, NBC Sports Network
4:30-6:30 p.m. Preakness Stakes, NBC
6:30-7 p.m. Preakness Post-Race Show, NBC Sports Network