05/02/2013 12:03PM

Kentucky Derby: NBC will include Stevens during broadcast

Barbara D. Livingston
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who will ride Oxbow in the Kentucky Derby, will be equipped with a microphone when he rides in the Kentucky Oaks and several other races on Saturday as part of his duties for NBC Sports.

Gary Stevens, who will be riding in his first Kentucky Derby since 2005, said he felt a bit of déjà vu this week when visiting the NBC compound at Churchill Downs, where he has spent the last several Derby Days working as an analyst.

[2013 KENTUCKY DERBY: Get PPs, contender profiles, live updates]

“It’s a bit like when I was retired from riding, walking up to the jocks’ room . . . it kind of felt funny,” he said.

Rob Hyland, who produces the broadcast for NBC, says Stevens - who will be aboard Oxbow in the Kentucky Derby and Silsita in the Oaks - is “still part of the team” and will play a unique role in the network’s 14 1/2 hours of coverage. However, he also noted that the network will be respectful of Stevens’s time and objectives for the weekend.

“He is a jockey trying to win the Kentucky Derby, and we respect that,” Hyland said. “He will wear a mic during the Kentucky Oaks and some Saturday races, so if there’s compelling audio associated with his rides, we can listen in on tape delay. He’ll also be doing an interview with us on Saturday.”

NBC Sports’ coverage from Churchill Downs on both Friday and Saturday will include live broadcasts of both the Derby and Oaks, undercard and post-race coverage, and replays of recent Derby broadcasts.

Coverage on Saturday begins at 11 a.m. Eastern, with the Kentucky Derby, which has a scheduled 6:24 p.m. post time, to be shown as part of a show on NBC that begins at 4 p.m.

Stevens says he has already seen pieces of the Derby broadcast and is enthused about the quality of the production.

“I’ve seen a couple of things, the opening for the show, and a couple of features that are just outstanding,” he said. “I hope everyone has a great show and everybody enjoys it.”