The Jockey Club, in collaboration with the NBC Sports Group, will kick off the "Road to Kentucky Derby" series with a 30-minute special previewing the Triple Crown season on Saturday, March 23, on the NBC Sports Network from 6-6:30 p.m. EDT.
The NBC Sports Network channel finder is located at nbcsports.msnbc.com.
The special, produced by America's Best Racing, will provide a comprehensive look at the top contenders for the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), as well as features on jockeys Gary Stevens and Rosie Napravnik and the "brand ambassadors" for America's Best Racing.
America's Best Racing was initiated and funded by The Jockey Club and promoted in association with National Thoroughbred Racing Association communications. It is a multimedia fan development platform designed to increase the profile and visibility of North America's best Thoroughbred racing events, with a primary focus on the sport's lifestyle and competition. Additional information is available at followhorseracing.com.
The brand ambassadors are traveling around the country in an "ABRV" bus on a tour that kicked off at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, March 8-17.
The live racing telecasts commence March 30, with the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) from Gulfstream Park and the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) from Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on NBC Sports Network from 6-7 p.m. EDT.
The series will conclude Saturday, April 13, with 2 1/2 hours of continuous coverage spread across two networks. A 90-minute live broadcast on NBC featuring the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) from Keeneland will be followed by a one-hour broadcast on the NBC Sports Network featuring the Arkansas Derby (gr. I). The NBC telecast will air from 4:30-6 p.m. EDT; the NBC Sports Network telecast will air from 6-7 p.m. EDT.
All six races fall into the highest tier on Churchill Downs' new points system to determine starters for the May 4 Derby on NBC. The points system features 36 stakes races overall and 17 marquee events for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds that comprise a 10-week run up to the first Saturday in May.