Friday, May 6th, 2016


Kentucky Native Judd To Voice Show Open As Well As Select Vignettes With Local Flavor

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – May 6, 2016 – Kentucky-native and well-known actress Ashley Judd will be the voice of the show open as well as select scene-setting vignettes for the 142nd Kentucky Derby this Saturday, May 7 at 4 p.m. ET on NBC. Last year, Judd narrated NBC’s opening tease for the first time.

A University of Kentucky graduate, Judd will narrate the 6 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, a look at American Pharoah at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, his new home, as well as original photography from across Kentucky that captures the pageantry, rich history and tradition associated with the “Run for the Roses.”

“We are excited to add to Ashley’s role on our telecasts, especially after her narration of last year’s opening sequence was so well-received,” said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer of NBC’s horse racing coverage.

Following is an excerpt from Saturday’s NBC show open narrated by Ashley Judd:

We take a lot of pride in where it all started.

Here, on this day, one year ago, amid all the traditions and the tapestry…

When American Pharoah was just one horse in another big field…

When we didn’t know what was to come.

This is Kentucky in springtime. What it looks like. What it sounds like. What it can mean.

We think it’s perfect.

Judd has starred in more than 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.


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. The 2015 Kentucky Derby on NBC averaged 16 million viewers, which for the first time ever was the most-watched program in May, topping everything on TV including primetime season finales. Women comprised 49% of that audience – the highest percentage among major 2015 sporting events.

AWARDS FOR NBC’S HORSE RACING COVERAGE: NBC Sports Group’s coverage of American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown run garnered five 2015 Sports Emmy nominations, highlighted by the nomination of NBC’s 147th Belmont Stakes presentation in the Outstanding Live Sports Special category. Since its involvement in the Triple Crown, NBC Sports has been honored with 16 Eclipse Awards for its thoroughbred racing coverage including the award for Television – Live Program for the 2015 Belmont Stakes, 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).