If you have been wondering about how you can see some of the biggest Derby Championship Series races of the season live while sitting in the comfort of your own home, wonder no more. The Jockey Club announced this week that the NBC Sports Network will televise six major Kentucky Derby prep races live this spring.
Kentucky Derby related programming will begin with a 30 minute preview show that will breakdown what has happened in the Derby prep season to that point, as well as a look ahead to the action yet to come. This program will air on March 23rd at 6 pm on the NBC Sports Network. The following week, on March 30th, NBC will begin its racing coverage with two highly anticipated races occurring in the south. You can tune in at 6 pm and watch both the Florida Derby from Gulfstream Park and the Louisiana Derby from Fairgrounds Park in Louisiana. Potential big name horses we may see on that day are Shanghai Bobby, Itsmyluckday, and a Todd Pletcher colt on the rise, Verrazano.
On April 6th, NBC will once again televise two races. This time the spotlight will be on the two coasts. The Wood Memorial will be up first from Aqueduct in New York and following that viewers will be able to enjoy the Santa Anita Derby from California. Last year, I’ll Have Another used the Grade I Santa Anita Derby as a spring board to winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown and it’s likely the combination of Paul Reddam and Doug O’Neill will have one or two contenders running in this year’s event.
The last two races will be shown April 13th on two NBC networks. NBC will carry a live broadcast of the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, Kentucky, and afterwards, viewers can jump over to the NBC Sports Network to see the Grade I Arkansas Derby. These two races effectively end the Derby prep season, even though there is the Lexington Stakes and Derby Trial that are considered to be “Wild Card” races and may not have much of an impact on the Kentucky Derby field.
With the new point system in place, these prep races are going to be tremendously important as trainers will be maneuvering to get their thoroughbreds the points it will take to earn a post position for the Kentucky Derby. NBC is bringing racing fans the top prep races at just the right time as the Kentucky Derby looms larger and larger on the schedule.