“I think California Chrome will win this weekend.” – NBC’s Mike Battaglia
“There are two or three new shooters this year that can give California Chrome a legitimate run for his money.” – NBC’s Bob Neumeier
STAMFORD, Conn. – May 14, 2014 – Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome leads the field as the NBC Sports Group presents 8 hours of coverage of the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. Coverage begins from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., Friday at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, and culminates with the Preakness Stakes Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
With a win Saturday at the Preakness Stakes, California Chrome will head to the Belmont aiming to become the first horse to win the elusive Triple Crown since Affirmed, with jockey Steve Cauthen, in 1978. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Belmont Stakes begins Friday, June 6.
COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group coverage of the Preakness Stakes features Bob Costas, a 26-time Emmy Award-winner, and veteran NBC Sports commentator Tom Hammond; analysts Randy Moss and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey; analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; NBCSN host/NBC reporter Laffit Pincay, III; reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Jay Privman, and race caller Larry Collmus. In addition, Josh Elliott and Carolyn Manno will provide a mix of features and interviews at Pimlico.
FEATURES AND STORYLINES: The features NBC Sports Group is preparing for its Preakness coverage include:
- A trip to the homes of California Chrome’s co-owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, who returned to their day jobs just days after winning at Churchill Downs;
- A look at some of the new shooters trying to beat the Derby champ;
- Josh Elliott visits with California Chrome’s jockey Victor Espinoza and his older brother Jose, a jockey whose career ended with a terrifying fall at Saratoga nine months ago;
- Carolyn Manno reports from the infield at Pimlico;
- Bob Costas offers an essay on California Chrome.
PRODUCTION TEAM: The coordinating producer of NBC’s horse racing coverage is Rob Hyland, a veteran of the network’s horse racing coverage since 2001. The Preakness Stakes is directed by Sunday Night Football and NBC Sports’ horse racing director, Drew Esocoff. NBCSN’s coverage is produced by Billy Matthews and directed by Patrick McManus. The executive producer of NBC Sports and NBCSN is Sam Flood, who has produced 11 Triple Crown races for the network.
|Fri., May 16||3 p.m.||Preakness Classics: Oxbow (2013); I’ll Have Another (2012); Rachel Alexandra (2009)||NBCSN|
|Fri., May 16||4 p.m.||Black Eyed Susan Stakes||NBCSN|
|Sat., May 17||1 p.m.||Preakness Saturday||NBCSN|
|Sat., May 17||4:30 p.m.||Preakness Stakes||NBC|
|Sat., May 17||6:30 p.m.||Preakness Post-Race Show||NBCSN|
NBC Sports handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier provided their thoughts on the Preakness in separate interviews. Their comments are below:
THE PREAKNESS ACCORDING TO BATTAGLIA: “The main story is California Chrome, but the big story other than that, to me, is how few challengers from the Derby are coming back and going after him. I can’t remember the last time only two other horses [General A Rod, Ride on Curlin] came out of the Derby and ran in the Preakness.”
BATTAGLIA ON CALIFORNIA CHROME’S TRIPLE CROWN CHANCES: “I think California Chrome will win this weekend. I was very impressed with the way he won the Derby; I don’t care about the time. That didn’t bother me at all…I think the shorter distance will play right into him, and I think he’s going to go into the Belmont with a shot.”
NEUMEIER ON THE CHALLENGERS TO CALIFORNIA CHROME: “My eyes are trained on the new shooters, which is very rare. Typically in any given year the Derby survivors are the ones you should focus on in the Preakness because typically they are the best horses. For some reason, that’s not it this year and I think there are two or three new shooters this year that can give California Chrome a legitimate run for his money.”
BATTAGLIA ON THE “NEW SHOOTERS” & RIDE ON CURLIN: “There is an abundance of early speed. Most of them have tons of speed, especially Social Inclusion. We thought we were going to get a fast pace in the Derby and we didn’t get it – but it almost has to be fast in the Preakness. I think that puts Ride on Curlin in a nice spot. With California Chrome, I don’t think it matters, but I think it puts Ride on Curlin in a very nice spot. Mark Casse’s horse, Dynamic Impact, I really like the way he’s improving. This is a horse that took a while to break his maiden. He actually beat older horses when he broke his maiden. I kind of like that. I loved his race in the Illinois Derby, so I think of the new shooters, I give him the edge. I think the presence in the speed with all the new shooters will really help Ride on Curlin.”
NEUMEIER ON “NEW SHOOTER” SOCIAL INCLUSION: “Social Inclusion is the big threat because he is very, very fast. He’s coming off of a foot bruise injury. I think he’s OK, I know he had a workout on Monday where people saw it and were very impressed. I think his injury is behind him, and he has run racing by numbers that would beat California Chrome, so he is at the top of the list.”
NEUMEIER ON “NEW SHOOTER” DYNAMIC IMPACT: “More under-the-radar is a horse called Dynamic Impact who won the Illinois Derby. He might be overlooked by some but he beat a nice horse called Midnight Hawk, flew mightily to win that race. I’m looking for him in somewhere of the neighborhood of 12-to-1 to 15-to-1 range. I think he’s got a chancee.”
NEUMEIER ON “NEW SHOOTER” KID CRUZ: “My third new shooter would be a horse called Kid Cruz. You’ll know him because he was named after the Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and comes from way, way back of the pack. There are a lot of early speed horses in this race — Bayern, Social Inclusion, California Chrome. If they should go out and decide to put themselves in a suicide pace then Kid Cruz could be there to pick up the pieces. So I would say those three would be the three shooters that I would take a look at.”
BATTAGLIA’S PICKS: “California Chrome, Ride on Curlin, Dynamic Impact.”
NEUMEIER’S PICKS: “My pick Saturday will be either Social Inclusion, Kid Cruz or Dynamic Impact.”
NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA PREAKNESS STAKES COVERAGE
NBC Sports Live Extra — the NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets — will stream NBC and NBCSN Preakness Stakes coverage. The vast majority of the content will be streamed live via “TV Everywhere,” the media industry’s effort to make quality content available to authenticated customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.
For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app for mobile devices and tablets is available at the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, and on select Android handset and tablet devices within Google Play and on Windows 8 and Windows mobile devices.
Preakness Stakes coverage airing on NBCSN and NBC, including the Preakness Stakes race, will be streamed to PCs, mobile devices and tablets through NBC Sports Live Extra.
NBC Sports Live Extra’s Preakness Stakes coverage includes:
- Four exclusive isolation cameras, including one on Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome during the race
- Bonus analysis by NBC Sports commentators
- Replays and highlights from the Kentucky Derby and earlier prep races
PREAKNESS STAKES ALL-ACCESS
Horse racing fans can access content from the Preakness at a “social center” housed on NBCSports.com/Preakness. Fans can access and sort social media content from Instagram, Twitter and Vine through various streams including horse racing experts, horses (including the horses themselves, jockeys and trainers), a photos-only section and Vine videos. Preakness All-Access aggregates what’s trending around the race and what’s hot in the social world. In addition, fans can plug in their first and last names and will be given their ‘Horse Name’ to be shared on Twitter.
Twitter: Viewers and Tweeters alike will be encouraged to join the conversation by using the hashtag #PREAKNESS. Reminders will appear on screen throughout all of NBC Sports Group’s Preakness coverage.
- On-air integration of live tweets from celebrities, horse racing experts and @NBCSN will be featured on screen throughout the broadcasts to keep viewers up to date with what’s happening on Twitter;
- A Trending Bar will be integrated into the live broadcast coverage to update viewers in real time as to what Preakness-related terms are trending on Twitter;
- For the ultimate horse racing fan, @NBCSN will live tweet all week leading up to the Preakness, including the Preakness Draw, and provide interactive trivia and “Did You Know” tweets during the Preakness Classic broadcast. It will give fans behind the scenes access and information like never before.
Facebook: Fans will have the chance to join in on the Preakness broadcast:
- Everyone at home can pick their winner with the “Choose the Winning Horse” Facebook poll on www.facebook.com/NBCSports. The nation’s votes will be tallied and shown on-air during the Preakness broadcast.
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NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when the NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.
KENTUCKY DERBY: California Chrome’s exciting victory in the 2014 Kentucky Derby marks the fourth time in six years (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) that NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage averaged more than 15 million viewers. From 1991-2008, Kentucky Derby average viewership did not reach 15 million.
AWARDS FOR NBC’S HORSE RACING COVERAGE: Since its involvement in the Triple Crown, NBC Sports has been honored with 13 Eclipse Awards for its thoroughbred racing coverage including the award for Television – Live Program for the 2013 Kentucky Derby. NBC’s previous wins in that category include: Preakness (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008), Kentucky Derby (2007, 2012), Belmont (2004) and Breeder’s Cup (2001). Additionally, NBC Sports has won three Eclipse Awards in the features category: 2002 War Emblem (Preakness broadcast), 2005 Afleet Alex (Kentucky Derby broadcast) and 2009 Mine That Bird (Preakness broadcast). The 2005 and 2006 Preakness broadcasts were nominated for the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Live Sports Special.
For Listings and the NBCSN Channel Finder, visit http://www.nbcsports.
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–