02/25/2014 2:50PM

Florida Derby, Santa Anita Derby will air live on NBC Sports


Two major preps for the Kentucky Derby, the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park on March 29 and the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park on April 5, will be broadcast live on NBC Sports, an official of the parent company of the two tracks confirmed on Tuesday.

The two races were picked up by NBC Sports after Breeders’ Cup officials approached the network about securing broadcast windows for the two preps, according to Tom Ludt, a senior vice president for the Stronach Group, the owner of Gulfstream and Santa Anita. The two tracks had to modify their post times slightly to fit into the windows, said Ludt, a former chairman of the Breeders’ Cup.

The Santa Anita Derby is scheduled to be run the same day as the Wood Memorial, the last major prep for the Kentucky Derby on the New York circuit. That race may also be broadcast live during the telecast, according to officials, though Eric Wing, a spokesperson for the New York Racing Association, declined to comment on Tuesday about the possibility of the Wood being added to the broadcast.

Racing organizations have been scrambling to find broadcast windows for major prep races for the Kentucky Derby since it became apparent at the beginning of the year that very few of the preps were scheduled to be broadcast live on television networks other than the sport’s two dedicated racing channels, HRTV and TVG. HRTV is owned by a partnership of Churchill Downs and the Stronach Group, and the network shows all of the live races from tracks owned by the two companies.

Under a deal that expires at the end of 2015, NBC has the broadcast rights to the three races of the Triple Crown. It also has a partnership deal with Breeders’ Cup to broadcast the Breeders’ Cup’s year-end event, along with races leading up to the event in various divisions. The 2014 television schedule for “The Road to the Breeders’ Cup” has yet to be released.

Officials for NBC Sports were not available for comment Tuesday.

The broadcast schedule for Derby prep races had looked extremely thin just several weeks ago. In January, only one major prep, the Blue Grass Stakes, was scheduled to be broadcast live, as part of a nine-broadcast series debuting on Fox Sports 1 this year. The Blue Grass Stakes was the only Derby prep race on the Fox Sports schedule when the series was announced.

The Fox Sports 1 series is being underwritten by the Jockey Club as part of an effort to increase the visibility of racing on television.

Joe More than 1 year ago
dont go praising stronnach too quick,as a lover of horses.i think its more the lover of money.we had stock in his co and knew that he would eventually get casinos and that we would all make money .hah he filed bankruptcy and we lost our money and through legal manipulation [the law] he owns all of the tracks and you guessed it filling his pockets not ours
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Thanks Matt.
Walter More than 1 year ago
I don't understand the negative sentiment towards Frank Stronach? This man loves horse racing and is keeping it alive. SA is located in an affluent area, I know the value of the property is very high. He has kept it as a racetrack. I'm not as familiar w GP, but I will guess its property value is very high since it's south FL and near the ocean. He has kept that as a racetrack. Frank is in his later years and will not be here forever, I just hope his successor loves racing as much as he does. Otherwise, there won't be anymore SA or GP, they will go the way of Bay Meadows & Hollywood Park.
mikey More than 1 year ago
He loves money more than racing or horses.This man is the black cloud of racing.
rick smith More than 1 year ago
You are wrong the value of that land is not of great value it is around a lot of malls and shopping areas and mountains to 1 side. The value of Hollywood park is of great value because of location in the heart of L.A. Franks group has stopped the signal for New York to bet on his tracks that he owns gulfstream and santa anita among others he is a black eye to the racing industry.
mikey More than 1 year ago
Rick you 100% right he is nothing but a dirty old man.He would run every track out of business if he could.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Land in Arcadia is very valuable, it would sell in a heartbeat. But since Stronach is a big supporter of horse racing, we won't have to find it out. Like I said before, he keeps the game alive. He owns great tracks, he runs a very solid breeding operation. If you are a horse racing fan, what has Stronach done to hurt the game?
mikey More than 1 year ago
He took gulfstream and turned it into a tete-theater.How would you like to pay 10-40 $$$ to get a seat and watch the races on T.V. The days of sitting outside with 30,000 or more seats are gone.He made this place into a casino, tele-theather with maybe 1500 outside seats.
Walter More than 1 year ago
I grew up in the days where the grandstands were full. However, those days are long gone. It's probably why they rebuilt GP like they did. I would bet most current track owners would cut their grandstands in half and throw them away if they could. I've not been to the new GP, so cannot say its good or bad.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Here are the facts. 61percent of money is wagered online. I understand why grandstands are condensed!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Funny that Stronach comes from the same country as a man who tried to take the world over came from.When you question him you are fired.He gelded Ritvo who never dreamed he would have the job he has.Maybe someday he will wake up.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Mikey, A little racial profiling here? It's not necessary and you should stop.
Chris Lowe More than 1 year ago
Didn't know Hitler was Austrian(snark).
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
Your saying Arnold Schwartzenegger tried to take the world? Just California.
mikey More than 1 year ago
He would have run for pres if he could.And might have won.
Jacqueline Schumacher More than 1 year ago
Are you seriously comparing Stronach to Adolf Hitler? Because you don't like how he runs his business?
Bob More than 1 year ago
Nah he is knocking Ritvo as all he does is walk around the track on his cell phone like he is running an army going to war . What a job that is. I should have applied . You don't believe me go to Gulfstream and watch
David LaKari More than 1 year ago
Stronach and his cronies are no good for racing and must go if racing is going to survive. Too much of everything for me and the hell with the horsemen, he needs to put his ego aside and let betting and viewing of all his racetracks be aired in all venues. Bigger handles will follow and more money will flow in the coffers
mikey More than 1 year ago
Stronach wants to rule racing.Just like another mad man did in the 40s.He must be stopped before he milks racing and rules the racing world.Why watch NBC when the races are on line and no idots blabbing in your ear.Racing is hurting and Stronach is the undertaker.
Dee Englehart More than 1 year ago
I blame him in the closing of Hollywood Park so SA gets all the CA business. He just wants to rule the industry.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Churchill had more to do with the demise of Hol. They sold it to a land developer. What did Stronach do wrong?
rick smith More than 1 year ago
BETTING ON EAST COAST IN VICE GRIP Virginia track is closed down for betting until further notice. Colonial downs is shut down by state because the track wants same number of racing days as last year 25 and the state wants 32. Last known location state employee who closed track " was on vacation in japan and will be for a couple weeks" as of 2-4-2014 Inside sources say the track will open the day before Kentucky derby or was it the Preakness no it was the Belmont or is the day before the Virginia july racing meet takes place..........The drf staff are "MIA" on looking into the subject for over 3 weeks now. The state of New York has no betting on santa anita and gulfstream and other tracks across the nation because of a signal dispute. The signal cost the same to transmit to space and back to earth.....They just want more money ................because that's the way they roll.
Joseph Giambra More than 1 year ago
They can take their ball (racetracks) roll right off the map of racing and all horse players, owners and trainers would be better off for it. PS: They can take DRF PLUS with them.