05/05/2014 4:43PM

Letter to the editor: Derby coverage should focus on horses


Dear Editor,

Another disappointing Kentucky Derby for me – not the race or its results but NBC's coverage of it. I was hoping to see Thoroughbred racehorses but barely got a glimpse. Instead, I got women's hats, celebrities, celebrities' picks, a lesson in how to make a mint julep, the inanities of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, and a man I think is an enemy of horse racing, Bob Costas.

I would like to have seen video coverage of each horse in the walkover, in the paddock and walking ring, and on the track – not only parading before the grandstand but also warming up. In the couple of hours before the walkover, I would like to have seen a profile of each horse, starting from post No. 1 and going on out to No. 20. Each profile would have included video coverage of the horse posing to reveal what it looks like (conformation), video coverage of the horse walking or playing, of the horse working out, and of the horse's stretch run in its Kentucky prep – anything to let me see the horse in the flesh.

Each profile would have included a description of the horse, such as age, sex, weight, height, pedigree, and any other information – maybe its personality and its preferences – that would have helped me get to know the horse. Of course, each profile would have included the stories – many of them extraordinary – about the connections behind the horse. And, finally, each profile might have included a panel of experts discussing the horse's record and evaluating its chances of winning. But instead of this profile, NBC gave me Jimmy Fallon's parody starting from post No. 1 and going on out, which – though humorous – told me nothing about any of the Thoroughbred racehorses.

William B. Johnson
Monrovia, Calif.