Friday, May 1st, 2015


“Wherever I have been in the world on the first Saturday in May, I have watched the Derby. My life offers many bouquets and narrating NBC’s opening is an especially sweet one.” – Ashley Judd

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – May 1, 2015 – Kentucky-native and well-known actress Ashley Judd will be the voice of the show open for the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, May 2 on NBC.

A University of Kentucky graduate, Judd will narrate the 5 p.m. ET show open for Saturday’s NBC telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. ET.  The open features images from Churchill Downs including the iconic twin spires, the 14-karat solid gold Kentucky Derby Trophy, as well as original photography from across Kentucky that captures the pageantry, rich history and tradition associated with the “Run for the Roses.”

“What a delight! I have attended the Derby many times, from the in-field as a college student, to friends’ boxes, and I’ve even walked on the track behind the Derby field for the call to post, looking in awe up at the Twin Spires,” said Ashley Judd, whose family has lived in Eastern Kentucky for more than 10 generations. “My memories are rooted in family ~ my dad picking me up before dawn to visit the barns and watch workouts, and especially how much my Papaws loved the Derby.  Wherever I have been in the world on the first Saturday in May, I have watched the Derby. My life offers many bouquets and narrating NBC’s opening is an especially sweet one.”

“Ashley was the perfect choice to narrate this year’s opening sequence,” said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer of NBC’s horse racing coverage. “The Kentucky Derby is a celebration of pastimes and rituals that make this event so special. Who better than one of Kentucky’s own to welcome us to the 141st Kentucky Derby?”

Following is the first verse of Saturday’s NBC show open narrated by Ashley Judd:

There are people here who spend all year waiting for today.

People who care about this day as much as anything else in the world.

For us, it’s about pride…in where we’re from…and who we are.

And understanding that these two minutes…are timeless.

Judd has starred in 20 films and on Broadway. Her many film titles include her debut picture Ruby in Paradise, which won the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury prize, Double JeopardyDivine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and De-Lovely.

The 2014 Kentucky Derby marked the fourth time in six years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. Women comprised 51% of that viewership, ranking the Kentucky Derby alongside the Belmont Stakes (featuring a Triple Crown contender) and Sochi Winter Olympics as the major 2014 sporting events with females accounting for more than half of the audience.

NBC Sports Group presents 15.5 live hours of Kentucky Derby coverage, a record for the event. Coverage on Saturday begins at Noon ET on NBCSN before moving to NBC at 4 p.m. ET.


On Derby Day, NBC’s wall-to-wall sports coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. ET with a second-round NHL Stanley Cup Playoff game between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers. NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET, and leads right into primetime coverage of the PGA TOUR’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play from TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif. at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Players Championship from TPC Sawgrass airs on Golf Channel and NBC from May 7-10, including Golf Channel’s Golf Central Live From The Players starting on Monday, May 4.

NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 2, begins at Noon ET on NBCSN, with coverage of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 1, at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.


NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: 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. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.

AWARDS FOR NBC’S HORSE RACING COVERAGE: Since its involvement in the Triple Crown, NBC Sports has been honored with 15 Eclipse Awards for its thoroughbred racing coverage including the award for Television – Live Program for the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic and the 2013 Kentucky Derby. NBC’s previous wins in that category include: Preakness (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008), Kentucky Derby (2007, 2012), Belmont (2004) and Breeder’s Cup (2001).  Additionally, NBC Sports has won four Eclipse Awards in the features category: “California Chrome: The Unlikely Champion,” which aired on NBCSN in June 2014, a 2002 feature on War Emblem (Preakness broadcast), a 2005 feature on Afleet Alex (Kentucky Derby broadcast) and a 2009 feature on Mine That Bird (Preakness broadcast). In addition, the 2014 Belmont Stakes broadcast was nominated for the Sports Emmy Award Outstanding Live Sports Special this year.