11/04/2014 2:19PM

Breeders' Cup Saturday viewership up 20 percent


Average viewership for NBC Sports Network’s broadcast of the Breeders’ Cup on Saturday afternoon and early evening was 376,000, according to the network, which said the figure represented a 20 percent gain over the average viewership for the same broadcast last year.

The NBCSN broadcast, which ran from 3:30 p.m. Eastern to 8 p.m. and featured live coverage of seven Breeders’ Cup races, was immediately followed by a one-hour live broadcast of the Breeders’ Cup Classic on NBC. As earlier reported, that broadcast, which was helped by the presence of Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, had a 1.8 rating, up 20 percent over last year’s prime-time broadcast.

The Breeders’ Cup ratings pale in comparison to the typical ratings for a Triple Crown race. This year, for example, the Kentucky Derby, also on NBC, had a rating of a 9.4, with viewership of 15.3 million households.

A three-hour broadcast on Friday on NBCSN featuring live coverage of four Breeders’ Cup races had an average viewership of 170,000, the network reported.

◗ In other Breeders’ Cup news on Tuesday, the California Horse Racing Board reported that all prerace and post-race samples collected from horses participating in the Breeders’ Cup had come back negative for any prohibited substances. All horses were tested for total carbon dioxide prerace, and all post-race samples were subjected to so-called “supertests” designed to detect nearly 200 prohibited substances.

One-third of the horses that participated were also targeted for out-of-competition testing in the weeks prior to the event. None of those samples turned up positive, the CHRB said.