Broadcast to Include Live Coverage of the Illinois Derby
NBC’s Gary Stevens: “The Santa Anita Derby always has a huge impact on the Kentucky Derby.”
NEW YORK – April 1, 2009 – NBC’s thoroughbred racing schedule enters the starting gate on Saturday (5-6 p.m. ET) with exclusive live HD coverage of the prestigious Santa Anita Derby, one of the most important Kentucky Derby prep races. The Grade I race for three year olds at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., carries a guaranteed purse of $750,000.
NBC analyst Gary Stevens won the Santa Anita Derby a record nine times, and says there are three horses to watch there this weekend: “It’s a three horse race with Pioneerof the Nile, Chocolate Candy and The Pamplemousse. It’s exactly four weeks before the Derby, and The Santa Anita Derby always has a huge impact on the Kentucky Derby.”
As part of NBC’s thoroughbred racing coverage Saturday, the network will feature live coverage of the Illinois Derby from Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney/Cicero, Ill., also a crucial Derby prep race.
STEVENS ON THE ILLINOIS DERBY: “Musket Man, coming off of his victory in the Tampa Bay Derby, is the solid favorite and I think a few of these horses, like Giant Oak and Perfect Song, can step up and challenge him.”
Tom Hammond hosts the Santa Anita Derby for NBC alongside Gary Stevens who, in 1988, won the Santa Anita Derby atop Winning Colors for the first of his record nine first place finishes at the Santa Anita Derby. They will be joined by reporters Mike Battaglia, Kenny Rice and Donna Barton Brothers. Bob Neumeier will be live at Hawthorne to report on the Illinois Derby.