The Jockey Club, the organization that is dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, and NBC Sports Group have announced a one-year agreement to televise six Kentucky Derby prep races this coming year in an effort to increase interest in the sport. The six-part series is entitled “Road to the Derby.”
The decision stems from a study, “Driving Sustainable Growth for Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding” by management consulting firm, McKinsey & Co. The firm was hired by The Jockey Club to analyze the current state, as well as the future of, Thoroughbred racing and breeding in North America. Increasing television coverage was one of nine recommendations suggested by the study.
Coverage will begin with the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park on March 24th. Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kindgdom, came out of Turfway this past year. The Florida Derby in Gulfstream will be the next televised prep race on March 31st. April 7th will be the highlight of the broadcasts, as NBC will televise both the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct as well as the Santa Anita Derby in a 90-minute broadcast. The series will end on April 14th with broadcasts of the Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland Race Course and the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park.