NBC Sports announced April 27 that it will provide, through NBC and sister station Versus, 27 hours of Triple Crown coverage, including 14 hours surrounding the May 7 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). It also confirmed that Larry Collmus, track announcer at Monmouth and Gulfstream parks, will take over the Triple Crown race-calling chores from Tom Durkin, who announced one day earlier he was stepping aside for health reasons.
Kentucky Derby coverage will commence May 4 and will include live coverage of the Kentucky Derby draw from 5-6 p.m. ET on Versus. That network will also broadcast the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) live May 6 in the same time slot. Versus coverage will begin Derby Day at 11 a.m. and run five hours. Stakes on the Derby undercard will be shown live on that network. NBC picks up the action at 4 p.m. and will have three hours of Kentucky Derby coverage.
Versus will also provide live coverage of the Black Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) from Pimlico May 20 from 4-5 p.m. ET. Preakness Stakes (gr. I) day coverage begins May 21 at 2:30 and runs for two hours on Versus before switching to NBC from 4:30-6:30 with Preakness coverage.
On June 10, Versus picks up the action from Belmont Park with stakes coverage from 5-6 p.m. ET. On Belmont Stakes (gr. I) day June 11, Versus will show undercard stakes from 3-5 p.m. ET, with the race segment broadcast by NBC from 5-7 p.m.
NBC coverage will fall to a new production team helmed by producer Fred Gaudelli and director Drew Esocoff, who worked on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” productions. Sam Flood will executive produce. This marks the first time in five years that all Triple Crown races will be broadcast by one entity. ABC/ESPN had the Belmont Stakes contract from 2006-2010.
Tom Hammond and Gary Stevens will continue to head the NBC coverage, while Versus will feature new talent Laffit Pincay III from HRTV and Randy Moss, who is a staple of ESPN’s horse racing coverage.