FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, June 6th, 2015
“CHAMPIONSHIP SATURDAY” ON NBC – NOTES & QUOTES
NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 2 – Chicago Blackhawks vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Now on NBC
“So rare, so stupendous an achievement that we won’t soon forget what we witnessed today at Belmont Park” — Bob Costas on American Pharoah’s Historic Belmont Stakes Victory
“The 37-year wait is over. American Pharoah is finally the one! American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!”—Larry Collmus’ Race Call
“She’s already the greatest female player I’ve ever seen” – John McEnroe on Serena Williams’ French Open Victory, Her 20th Grand Slam Singles Title
Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero Earns Split Decision Over Aron Martinez in PBC on NBC
ELMONT, N.Y. – June 6, 2015 – “NBC Sports Championship Season” coverage today featured numerous live high-profile events including the 147th Belmont Stakes highlighted by American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown win, the first since Affirmed in 1978. Serena Williams kicked off “Championship Saturday” by capturing her 20th Grand Slam title 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 over Lucie Safarova in the French Open final in Paris, and was followed by Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero’s split decision win over Aron Martinez in Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on NBC from Carson, Calif. Earlier this morning on NBCSN, No. 1 ranked Novak Djokovic concluded his French Open semifinal victory over No. 3 Andy Murray.
“Championship Saturday” coverage continues now on NBC with Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final as the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Tampa Bay Lightning. Chicago leads the series 1-0.
Tomorrow’s “Championship Season” coverage on NBC features the 2015 French Open Men’s Final between Djokovic, looking to complete his career Grand Slam, and Stan Wawrinka at 9 a.m. ET, followed by the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix at 2 p.m. ET.
Following are highlights from today’s “Championship Saturday” coverage:
147TH BELMONT STAKES
Larry Collmus’ race call: “The 37-year wait is over. American Pharoah is finally the one! American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!”
Bob Costas’ closing comments on American Pharoah making Triple Crown history: “Thirty seven years. So many hopes raised, only to be dashed. So many near misses that a lot of people had begun to say it was simply impossible. Turns out — not quite impossible. Just so difficult, so unlikely, so rare, so stupendous an achievement that we won’t soon forget what we witnessed today at Belmont Park.”
Tom Hammond following American Pharoah’s victory: “If it is anything, racing is a game of hope and dreams.”
Bob Costas opening the telecast as fans stream into Belmont Park: “They’ve come to see a race that, depending on the outcome, could be long remembered.”
Tom Hammond: “More men have walked on the moon than horses have won the Triple Crown, 11.”
Bob Neumeier: “When you cut it down to the nitty gritty, it’s really American Pharoah versus history.”
Eddie Olczyk: “We’ve heard about the horses, jockeys, trainers, owners, now let’s get to the meat and potatoes, betting the Belmont Stakes.”
Jerry Bailey on American Pharoah: “I think he wins and he wins big…in watching the two workouts of American Pharoah since the Preakness, I think he might actually be peaking coming into this race. And the Belmont might be his best performance of all three. The last time that played out was 1973 and the horse was Secretariat.”
Randy Moss on American Pharoah: “I put his chances at a little better than 50-50…History makes me wary.”
Bob Costas: “The odds say that the Triple Crown is odds-on (American Pharoah, 3-to-5).”
Randy Moss on Triple Crown format (three races in five weeks) & California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn’s comments last year: “He also said there wouldn’t be another Triple Crown winner in his lifetime. Somebody might want to knock on his door right now to make sure Steve is doing O.K. He had no point whatsoever. He was frustrated. Look, it’s always been one of the big litmus tests for Triple Crown winners to come to the Belmont, take on all comers, and beat them. The coward’s way out would be to change the qualifications for the Belmont to make it easier for a horse to sweep the Triple Crown.”
Jerry Bailey on Triple Crown format: “I agree with Randy’s assertion that if you give the horses more time between these races it might even make it harder. Especially in the Preakness – horses will be able to rest, more injuries in the Preakness, which would make the entire thing harder to do. But, I’m interested in Steve Cauthen’s latest statement, Steve obviously rode the winner of the 1978 Triple Crown, Affirmed. He said leading into the next year was Spectacular Bid, almost a lock to be the fourth Triple Crown winner in seven years, and people were saying it’s too easy! No matter what you do, it’s still very hard to win.”
Tom Hammond on Triple Crown format: “I don’t think they should change a thing. It would cheapen it for the 11 who have won the Triple Crown. It’s supposed to be hard.”
Excerpt from Bob Costas’ Triple Crown essay: “That’s the deal with the Triple Crown. One horse goes for ultimate victory, and a lasting place in history. One horse must run and win three times in five weeks. While the rest of the sport does anything and everything it can to derail that objective.”
Excerpt from Bob Costas’ Triple Crown essay: “The Triple Crown is unlike other sports championships, and in fact, always has been distinctly different. Here, there are no defending champions. There are no true standings … no seedings … no brackets … all of which American Pharoah’s handlers seem to understand. If their horse wins today, he will have faced more opponents than any other Triple Crown winner since Assault in 1946.”
Bob Baffert to Josh Elliott (in feature): “When you get to this level, it’s winning or misery. And that’s what the Triple Crown’s about.
PREMIER BOXING CHAMPIONS ON NBC
BJ Flores on Robert Guerrero in 5th round, following a 4th round knockdown: “Guerrero pinned against the ropes – I think we’re seeing some signs of what happened a few months ago. Maybe Robert Guerrero wasn’t completely ready to come back and have a fight of this magnitude.”
BJ Flores on returning to the ring against Beibut Shunenov on PBC on NBC on Saturday, June 20: “I’m looking forward to it – I’m facing a former champion, a very good fighter, very tough, very disciplined. It’s just a great challenge for me, and a great opportunity, something that I am taking very seriously.
2015 FRENCH OPEN WOMEN’S FINAL
Ted Robinson on Serena Williams: “Unprecedented on-court drama for Serena Williams, and the last 48 hours, off-court. Fighting illness, which was very visible in her semifinal, she made it to ‘Championship Saturday.’”
Ted Robinson on Serena Williams: “I’ve never seen a major where there’s been this much doubt, both in her matches and now, the off-court stuff, that she’d make it to the championship.”
John McEnroe on Serena Williams: “[The French Open] has always been the most difficult for [Williams] to win – the slipping and sliding, and the footwork. But her talent – to me, she’s already the greatest female player I’ve ever seen on the court – is so large. The physical talent, the athleticism, the physical strength that she’s got, and the desire.”
McEnroe: “Never has anyone in the history of our sport been able to come back after losing the first set as often as Serena Williams – and she’s done that numerous times in this event. [Victoria] Azarenka, Sloane Stevens, [Timea] Bacsinszky – all of these ladies had a serious chance to pull off the big upset – and every single time she finds a way.”
Mary Carillo on Lucie Safarova: “Serena Williams didn’t even practice yesterday. Safarova had one day off because she’s been winning in both singles and doubles, and in practice this morning, all smiles – just a delightful woman – the locker room is so happy for her. She’s had so much tennis in these past few weeks.”
McEnroe on Serena Williams mentioning that she’s looking forward to Wimbledon: “That didn’t take long.”
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