2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.

<br><a target="blank" href="http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/photo-store?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fpictopia.com%2Fperl%2Fgal%3Fprovider_id%3D368%26ptp_photo_id%3D9517735%26ref%3Dstory">Order This Photo</a>

2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
Order This Photo

Anne M. Eberhardt

KY Derby Preps to Be Broadcast Live in 2012

Races include Wood Memorial, Santa Anita Derby. Blue Grass, Florida Derby.

The Jockey Club, in collaboration with the NBC Sports Group, CNBC, and six racetracks, will provide live coverage of six major prep races for the 2012 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) over four consecutive weekends next spring.

The series will be highlighted by a 90-minute live broadcast April 7 on NBC featuring the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) at Aqueduct and the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.

The other four Kentucky Derby prep races are the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (gr. III) from Turfway Park March 24 and the Florida Derby (gr. I) from Gulfstream Park March 31, both of which will air on the NBC Sports Network (which will be renamed from VERSUS Jan. 2, 2012); and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) from Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) from Oaklawn Park. Those two will air on CNBC April 14.

“The Jockey Club is proud to work with our television and racetrack partners to bring more of our sport’s best racing to a national audience,” Jockey Club chairman Ogden Mills “Dinny” Phipps said Nov. 8. “Increasing the television presence of Thoroughbred racing is just the first step in a long-term, multi-media strategy focused on fan retention and development.

"Together with racetracks and other industry organizations, we plan to aggressively cross-promote Thoroughbred racing on a variety of traditional and new digital media platforms.”

“These races are important steppingstones to the Kentucky Derby,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “And this programming further demonstrates the NBC Sports Group’s commitment to the sport of Thoroughbred racing, which already includes long-term deals for the Triple Crown races as well as with Saratoga and Keeneland.”

The new coverage stems from recommendations in a Jockey Club-commissioned report by McKinsey & Company that was released in August. The report offers suggestions on how to build interest in Thoroughbred racing.