Thursday, May 3rd, 2012


Oldest Continuous Sporting Event in the United States Contested Annually on the First Saturday in May Coverage from Churchill Downs Continues Today and All Week on NBC and NBC Sports Network “A depth of talent unlike any I can remember. There are literally 8 or 10 horses that could win the race.” – NBC Sports Group’s Tom Hammond “I think it’s going to be a chess match the first time through the stretch… I think it will be interesting.” – NBC Sports Group’s Gary Stevens “To be a part of the greatest horse race, there is just an unbelievable feeling.” - NBC Sports Group’s Race Caller Larry Collmus on calling the Kentucky Derby “The excitement and fun of the Kentucky Derby never gets old to me.” – NBC Sports Group’s Mike Battaglia

NEW YORK – May 3, 2012 – It’s the first Saturday in May and that means it’s time for the Kentucky Derby.  The NBC Sports Group broadcasts exclusive coverage of the 138th Derby this Saturday with coverage starting on NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. ET and culminating with the Run for the Roses on NBC starting at 4 p.m. ET.


NBC Sports conducted a conference call today with its broadcasting and production crew. For a complete replay of the call dial 719-457-0820 and enter passcode 1624508. Below are comments from the call with participants, Rob Hyland, Tom Hammond, Gary Stevens, Larry Collmus, Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier:


HYLAND ON THE BROADCAST: “I’m really excited about leading the team for this year’s Kentucky Derby. I did the first Derby on NBC back in 2001, and this is my first year as the leader of the talented production group. I’ve done a number of Super Bowls, a number of Olympics, but there is nothing like the Kentucky Derby. It’s a unique day in sports that really is a combination of a great event, a great atmosphere, a scene that is unlike any other in sports. We’re really excited to showcase a number of great stories in this year’s race.”


HYLAND ON DERBY STORIES: “There’s such a talented field that includes a number of great stories like the story of Phyllis Wyatt of Union Rags, and Bob Baffert who suffered a heart attack a month ago in Dubai and is back and searching for Derby win number four. We have just a number of great stories we are going to be telling throughout the telecast.”


HAMMOND ON THE RACE: “This is one of the events that you look when the schedule comes out to see what day it lands on and you make your plans around it. A lot of people say, ‘Oh it’s just 2 minutes,’ but there’s so much more that goes with it. Horse racing has more stories than any other sport, all compelling stories, all interesting. We hope to capture the flavor of what the Derby really is. The crowd keeps getting bigger that’s for sure.”


HAMMOND ON THE FIELD: “A depth of talent unlike any I can remember. There are literally eight or 10 horses that could win the race… This year has the opportunity to be one of the classic Derby’s because a depth of talent unlike any I can remember in the last 10 years. A very talented field, a good mix of horses…. All the ingredients are there for what could be a classic Kentucky Derby.”


STEVENS ON PREPARTIONS: “You start preparing long before. You start watching all the horses. Which horses are going to be able to ride a mile and a quarter? You start running different scenarios how the race may line up. You must be able to adjust. It is so unpredictable. There are horses that just set off the pace. The Derby is always a tactical race. You’ve got four of five different plans and you better be able to adapt and adapt quickly.”


STEVENS ON THE FIELD: “It’s going to be a chess match the first time through the stretch… It will be interesting. It’s not just going to be a horse’s race but a jockey’s race, very tactical. It is going to be gentleman’s race. It is an adrenaline rush…I’m in the second best place working.”


COLLMUS ON BEING AT THE DERBY: “When the horses were going around the turn, my legs were shaking uncontrollably, the nervous energy. When they hit the wire and that feeling of exhilaration… To be a part of the greatest horse race there is just an unbelievable feeling. The nerves are a little less than last year…the race just shapes up unbelievably with the amount of talent.”


BATTAGLIA ON THE EVENT: “This is my 41st straight Derby and I finally picked a winner (last year with Animal Kingdom). The excitement and fun of the Kentucky Derby never gets old to me. Just to be a part of this event, for one year, but for 41 years is absolutely phenomenal. I just feel so blessed to be with this group. You want to have the winner but when the horses are coming down the stretch it doesn’t matter who wins that race. You get a feeling of excitement for them and who you pick is just so far back in your mind that it’s just the Derby experience itself. I think you just have to be here and experience it.”  


NEUMEIER ON BEING PART OF THE DERBY: “The beauty of sports is its unpredictability. When they open the gate and 20 horses come steaming down that side, all bets are off. It’s kind of controlled chaos. You have to be very lucky. Anything can happen and that is the mystery of the Kentucky Derby that appeals to me. It is a phenomenal event and I am pleased and proud to be a part of it.”


NEUMEIER ON PICKING THE WINNER: “It’s kind of controlled chaos. So to actually select one, you’ve got to be very lucky. And I tip my cap to Mike Battaglia, who last year tapped Animal Kingdom, and I didn’t have him in my list. I know in Derby’s we’ve covered with Mine That Bird and Giacamo, who were certainly not on my list, so anything can happen and that is the beauty and the mystery — that’s a good word — the mystery of the Kentucky Derby that appeals to me and any viewer out there.”


COMENTATORS: The NBC Sports Group coverage of the Kentucky Derby will feature co-hosts Bob Costas, a 22-time Emmy Award-winner, and veteran NBC Sports commentator Tom Hammond; three-time Kentucky Derby winner Gary Stevens; contributing analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; analyst Randy Moss; host Laffit Pincay, III; reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Jay Privman; race caller Larry Collmus. Also, TODAY’s Jenna Wolfe will contribute features and Catt Sadler of NBCUniversal’s E! will talk Kentucky Derby fashions and handle celebrity interviews.


Additionally, Hall-of Fame jockey and two-time Kentucky Derby-winner Jerry Bailey will join NBC Sports Network’s commentary team on Derby Day. Bailey, who also won twice in the Preakness and twice in the Belmont, won the Kentucky Derby in 1993 (Sea Hero) and 1996 (Grindstone).


The coverage on NBC will be produced by Rob Hyland, a veteran of the network’s horse racing coverage since 2001, and directed by Sunday Night Football and NBC Sports’ horse racing director, Drew Esocoff. The coverage on NBC Sports Network is produced by Billy Matthews and Rich O’Connor and directed by Patrick McManus. The executive producer of NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network is Sam Flood, who has produced 11 Triple Crown races for the network.





Fri. May 4 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Derby Classics – Animal Kingdom NBC Sports Network
5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Kentucky Oaks NBC Sports Network
Sat. May 5 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Kentucky Derby Saturday NBC Sports Network
4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Kentucky Derby 138 NBC
7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Kentucky Derby Post-Race Show NBC Sports Network





Taking a page from Sunday Night Football Extra and Super Bowl Extra, Kentucky Derby Extra is the online connection to coverage of the Kentucky Derby. Available at with live streaming of the NBC broadcast of the Kentucky Derby, other features of Kentucky Derby Extra include:


  • Four online-only camera angles that showcase the activity happening across Churchill Downs on Derby day;


  • Online-only analysis by NBC and NBC Sports Network commentators;


  • Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey will answer fans’ questions and offer analysis throughout the broadcast;


  • Replays and footage from all the key Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races;


  •  A video simulation of how this year’s Kentucky Derby might play out.





DERBY ALL-ACCESS: NBC Sports will implement its All-Access social media strategy for Kentucky Derby week on both NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. A dedicated social media producer will be on-site for behind the scenes content including Breaking News, photos and video from Churchill Downs.

Twitter: Viewers and tweeters alike will be encouraged to join the conversation by using the hashtag #DERBYonNBC. Reminders will appear on screen throughout all of NBC’s Kentucky Derby week coverage.


  • On-air integration of live tweets from celebrities, horse-racing experts and @NBCSN will be featured on screen throughout the broadcasts to keep viewers up to date with what’s happening and trending on Twitter;


  • For the ultimate horse racing fan, @NBCSN will live tweet the Kentucky Derby Draw Show on Wednesday and provide interactive trivia and “Did You Know” tweets during the Derby Classics shows Wednesday through Friday.


Facebook: Fans will have the chance to join the Derby party at Churchill Downs, by submitting their photos of their Derby parties and Derby hats no matter where they are, to the NBC Sports Facebook page where a selection of the fan images will be shown on-air. (Submit photos at


  • Everyone at home can pick their winner with the “Choose the Winning Horse” Facebook poll on The nation’s votes will be tallied and shown on-air during the Kentucky Derby broadcast.


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NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: The NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup, which was broadcast on NBC from 1984-2005. Last year marked the first time that all three Triple Crown races appeared on one network since NBC last aired the Triple Crown in 2005. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001. This year, the NBC Sports Group will present 27½ hours of Triple Crown coverage across NBC and NBC Sports Network.


NBC Sports Group is also the home to Summer at Saratoga, Autumn at Keeneland, and, in collaboration with The Jockey Club, the Road to the Kentucky Derby series that provided live coverage of six major prep races for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.


KENTUCKY DERBY: Last year the Kentucky Derby drew 14.54 million viewers; the fourth most-watched Kentucky Derby in 21 years. Since implementing NBC’s Big Event Strategy, the last three Kentucky Derby races have recorded at least 14.5 million viewers including the 2010 Derby, which was the most-watched for the event in 22 years.


NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby over the last 11 years averages more than 2½ million more viewers than the previous 11 Kentucky Derby broadcasts on ABC (14.1 million vs.11.5 million, up 23 percent).