FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 17th, 2012
NBC SPORTS GROUP PRESENTS 6½ HOURS OF PREAKNESS STAKES COVERAGE
NEW YORK – May 17, 2012 – Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another leads the field as the NBC Sports Group presents 6½ hours of coverage of the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Coverage begins from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network, and culminates with the Preakness Stakes Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
With a win Saturday at the Preakness, I’ll Have Another will head to the Belmont in hopes of becoming the first horse to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed, with jockey Steve Cauthen, in 1978. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Belmont Stakes begins Friday, June 8.
COMMENTATORS: NBC’s coverage of the 137th Preakness Stakes is hosted by Tom Hammond alongside two-time Preakness Stakes-winning jockey Gary Stevens; analyst Randy Moss; contributing analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; host Laffit Pincay, III; reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Jay Privman; and race caller Larry Collmus, a Baltimore native.
Additionally, Hall-of-Fame jockey and two-time Kentucky Derby-winner Jerry Bailey will join NBC Sports Network’s commentary team on Preakness day. Bailey won the Preakness twice – aboard Hansel in 1991 and Red Bullet in 2000.
FEATURES AND STORYLINES: The features NBC Sports Group is preparing for its Preakness coverage include:
- A look at jockey Mario Gutierrez and his unlikely journey to win the Kentucky Derby;
- Randy Moss sit-down interview with Doug O’Neil, the controversial trainer of Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another;
- Feature on Under Armor CEO Kevin Plank and his commitment to horse racing in the state of Maryland. Plank’s horse Tiger Walk is entered in the Preakness.
- Stevens and Bailey will break down the Kentucky Derby trips of the returning horses: I’ll Have Another, Bodemeister, Went the Day Well and Creative Cause.
PRODUCTION TEAM: 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 directed by Doug Grabert. 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 18||3 p.m. – 4 p.m.||Preakness Classics||NBC Sports Network|
|4 p.m. – 5 p.m.||Black Eyed Susan Stakes||NBC Sports Network|
|Sat. May 19||2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.||Preakness Stakes Saturday||NBC Sports Network|
|4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Preakness Stakes||NBC|
|6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.||Preakness Post-Race Show||NBC Sports Network|
NBC Sports handicappers Neumeier and Battaglia provided their thoughts on the Preakness in separate interviews and came to similar conclusions about the race. Their answers are below:
THE PREAKNESS ACCORDING TO NEUMEIER: “There’s a reasonable chance that this race could be what they call a merry-go-round. That expression basically means that nobody passes anybody on the lead – it’s an old racing expression. Bodemeister should have a lead and I think he’ll be dogged by I’ll Have Another, barring something crazy. Bodemeister might get weary down the stretch and I’ll Have Another might pass him, but I like both horses – 1-2 on either side. Those are the favorites. That’s how it shapes up to me.”
THE PREAKNESS ACCORDING BATTAGLIA: “Bodemeister is going to have it a little easier on the front end than he did at the Derby. It’s not going to be that same suicidal pace. When you look at this race, there are four Kentucky Derby horses back and all are solid contenders. I think that Bodemeister has an edge because of the pace factor, but it’s tough to throw out the other three – I’ll Have Another, Creative Cause and Went the Day Well.”
BATTAGLIA ON DERBY WINNER NOT FAVORED AT THE PREAKNESS: “Normally the Derby winner is the favorite. But I think they got it correct here. I think that it’ll be a slight favoritism – not a big favoritism – for Bodemeister. He and I’ll Have Another will be close in wagering.”
NEUMEIER ON BODEMEISTER: “My feel on Bodemeister is he’s just had too many races. He’s had five this year, and the advantage that I’ll Have Another has, in my opinion, is that he’s the fresher horse. Bodemeister has had two more races this year than I’ll Have Another, and they only have so many in them, so that would be my only fear about Bodemeister. He’s just been overraced.”
NEUMEIER ON I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: “I’ll Have Another has an excellent chance to win this race. Absolutely. He’ll be dogging Bodemeister, and when the time comes to make the run, he’s certainly fresh enough with two weeks off.”
BATTAGLIA ON THE NEW SHOOTERS (Horses in the Preakness that didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby): “Every year I say I don’t like the new shooters, but a new shooter have been in the exacta eight times, and in the trifecta nine times in the last ten years.”
NEUMEIER’S PICKS: “If I were to rank them, I’d put I’ll Have Another first, Bodemeister second, Creative Cause and Went the Day Well a toss-up for third.”
BATTAGLIA’S PICKS: “It’s going to be Bodemeister. It’s the four Derby horses (finishing in the top four). I keep looking at Went the Day Well and think that he’s going to be able to close a little bit better, so I think that he could be there. It’ll be close between him and I’ll Have Another for second, Creative Cause will be right there in fourth, but I’ve got Bodemeister on top.”
Similar to Kentucky Derby Extra, Preakness Extra is the online connection to coverage of the Preakness Stakes. Available at NBCSports.com with live streaming of the NBC broadcast of the Preakness, other features of Preakness Extra include:
- An online-only isolation camera on Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another during the race;
- Online-only analysis by NBC and NBC Sports Network commentators in days leading up to race plus post race, online commentary by NBC commentators;
- Replays and highlights from the Kentucky Derby and earlier prep races;
- A video simulation of how this year’s Preakness might play out with 2012 Preakness entrants in virtual competition simulating Preakness conditions and track.
PREAKNESS STAKES ALL-ACCESS
NBC Sports Group will implement its All-Access social media strategy for Preakness week on both NBC 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 Pimlico.
Twitter: Viewers and Tweeters alike will be encouraged to join the conversation by using the hashtag #PREAKNESS. Reminders will appear on screen throughout all of NBC’s Preakness 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 all week leading up to the Preakness, including the Preakness Draw, and provide interactive trivia and “Did You Know” tweets during the Preakness Classic broadcast. It will give fans behind the scenes access and information like never before.
Facebook: Fans will have the chance to join in on the Preakness broadcast:
- Everyone at home can pick their winner with the “Choose the Winning Horse” Facebook poll on www.facebook.com/NBCSports. The nation’s votes will be tallied and shown on-air during the Preakness broadcast.
PREAKNESS A RATINGS SUCCESS ON NBC:
Since NBC began broadcasting the Preakness in 2001, every Preakness telecast on NBC over that period attracted more viewers than any Preakness telecast on ABC in the previous seven years. Viewership for the Preakness is up an average of 63% in the 11 years on NBC compared to the previous eight years on ABC.
PREAKNESS ON NBC (2001-2011)
2011 8.8 million
2010 8.4 million
2009 10.9 million
2008 7.9 million
2007 8.4 million
2006 10.1 million
2005 9.3 million
2004 11.6 million
2003 8.6 million
2002 9.2 million
2001 8.7 million
PREAKNESS ON ABC (1993-2000)
2000 5.5 million
1999 4.9 million
1998 5.2 million
1997 6.9 million
1996 5.1 million
1995 4.7 million
1994 6.5 million
1993 7.0 million
14.8 MILLION WATCH KENTUCKY DERBY: NBC’s coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby drew 14.8 million viewers, the third most-watched Kentucky Derby in 23 years, and up two percent from last year’s Derby. Since implementing NBC Sports Group’s ‘Big Event Strategy,’ the last four Kentucky Derby races have all recorded at least 14.5 million viewers.
NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby over the last 12 years averages more than 2 million more viewers than the previous 12 Kentucky Derby broadcasts on ABC (14.1 million vs.12.0 million, up 17 percent).
Link to NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby and hear Larry Collmus call the race: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/21428075 – 47308821
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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.