11/08/2010 2:25PM

Breeders' Cup TV ratings through the roof

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The television rating of the final hour of the Saturday ESPN-TV telecast of the Breeders’ Cup this year was nearly triple that of the television rating last year, according to figures provided by ESPN on Monday.

The preliminary rating for the last hour of the broadcast, from 6:15 p.m. Eastern until 7:15, was a 3.1, up 182 percent compared to a 1.1 preliminary rating for the broadcast last year, according to ESPN spokesperson Kimberly Jessup. The last hour of the broadcast included the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which Zenyatta attempted to run her unbeaten record to 20 wins but fell short by a head to Blame.

The jump was the largest increase ever for a Breeders’ Cup broadcast, ending a long period of stagnation.

Last year, the final rating for the entire Saturday broadcast was a 0.9. This year, the ABC portion of the broadcast, from 1:30 to 3:30, had a 1.7 preliminary rating, while the rating for the ESPN portion of the broadcast from 3:52 to 6:15 was a 2.4, a 167 percent jump over last year. (The ESPN portion of the broadcast began at 3:52, rather than 3:30, because of ESPN’s commitment to broadcast the conclusion of Michigan’s college football victory over Illinois in triple overtime.)

The Friday broadcast on ESPN, running from 4 p.m. Eastern until 8, had a preliminary rating of 0.4, 33 percent higher than last year’s rating of 0.3.

Final ratings are expected late on Monday.