06/10/2012 11:42AM

Belmont Stakes 2012: NBC's overnight ratings for race telecast jump 13 percent

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The overnight rating for the race portion of the Belmont Stakes broadcast on NBC on Saturday evening was a 5.4, up 13 percent over the rating last year, according to the network. Share was a 13, up 18 percent compared with  the share for last year, the network said.

The jump in broadcast figures dovetailed with significant increases in attendance and handle for the card at Belmont on Saturday, despite the scratch on Friday of I’ll Have Another, who had already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. I’ll Have Another’s quest to try to become the 12th horse to earn the Triple Crown focused attention on the sport leading up to the race.

According to the network, the 5.4 overnight rating was the highest rating for a non-Triple Crown Belmont broadcast since 2005. Ratings are generally far higher when a horse is attempting to win the Triple Crown.

In 2011, the rating was a 4.8. A year earlier, when the race was broadcast by ABC, the rating was a 3.1.

In 2008, when Big Brown was going for the Triple Crown, the rating was a 9.5, with a 21 share.

NBC said that the overnight rating for the “pre-race” portion of the broadcast, from 5 to 6:15 p.m. Eastern, was a 3.1, up 19 percent compared with  the pre-race overnight rating last year.

The overnight rating in the New York metropolitan area was a 9.6 with a 22 share, up 30 percent over the rating for the area last year and the highest rating in New York for a non-Triple Crown bid since 2006, the network said.