06/08/2014 12:17PM

Belmont Stakes overnight ratings second highest ever

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The overnight rating for the Belmont Stakes broadcast Saturday on NBC was a 12.9, the second-highest rating of all-time for the race, behind the 15.9 overnight rating posted for the 2004 race, when Smarty Jones was bidding for the Triple Crown, the network said on Sunday.

The broadcast, from 4:30 to 7:15 p.m. Eastern, had a 29 share, a measure of how many televisions in use were tuned to the broadcast, NBC said. The 2004 broadcast had a slightly higher share, at 31.

The rating was a 36 percent gain over the last time a Triple Crown was at stake, in 2008, when the overnight was a 9.5 and the share was a 21. In that year, Big Brown was bidding for the Triple Crown.

Compared with 2013, when no Triple Crown was on the line, the overnight rating this year was up 180 percent. The overnight last year was a 4.6 with an 11 share. Palace Malice, who won the nationally televised Met Mile on the Belmont undercard, won the 2013 Belmont.

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals between the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles. Kings, which immediately followed the Belmont broadcast, had a 4.6 overnight rating, nearly a third of the Belmont rating, according to NBC’s figures. The hockey game’s ratings were up 59 percent compared with Game 2 of the finals last year, which appeared on NBC Sports Network.