Jockeys walk their horses through stables at dusk.

NBC Plans Record Day of Kentucky Derby Coverage

Key Takeaways

NBC & NBCSN present three days of coverage, including Saturday’s live “Run for the Roses”.
Derby coverage features new backstretch aerial camera that travels up to 80 MPH. and the NBC Sports app will live stream the Kentucky Derby draw on May 1st.

Stamford, CT

The road to the Triple Crown begins this week, highlighted by NBC’s record live five-hour Kentucky Derby Day telecast this Saturday, May 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET. NBC Sports Group kicks off its 14 hours of Kentucky Derby Week coverage this Thursday, May 3, live at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Saturday’s live Derby Day coverage begins at Noon ET on NBCSN.

Following are highlights of NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 144th Kentucky Derby, which includes more than seven live hours on Derby Day between NBC and NBCSN:

Live coverage of 20 races on Thursday, Friday and Saturday:

  • Four live races on Thursday, May 3, at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN
  • Six live races on Friday, May 4, at Noon ET and 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN
  • Ten live races during NBCSN (Noon ET) and NBC Derby Day (2:30 p.m. ET) coverage (including five live races in the NBC show)

For first time ever at Triple Crown race, NBC Sports will utilize an aerial camera over the full backstretch, which will offer a perspective of 15-18 feet above the track and travel up to 80 MPH;

More than 50 additional cameras will be used, including a helmet camera on the outrider (escorts the winning horse and jockey to the winner’s circle); a camera suspended 80-feet high on the Churchill Downs video board structure, a robotic camera in the paddock saddling area, and a camera focused on race caller Larry Collmus;

A jockey, trainer and owner will be wired-for-sound for final jockeys’ instructions and post-race reactions.

Among the features on NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage on Saturday, May 5:

  • Mike Tirico’s interview with Vinnie Viola and Mike Repole, co-owners of Vino Rosso; Tirico will also narrate a feature on Mick Ruis, trainer and owner of Bolt d’Oro;
  • Tara Lipinski and Rutledge Wood visit American Pharoah to see how the Triple Crown winner is taking to his new job in the Stallion Barn;
  • Bob Costas narrates a feature on the how the fires in Southern California devastated the San Luis Rey Downs training center in San Diego County, plus the incredible success that many of the rescued horses have had since;
  • Tom Colicchio from Bravo’s Top Chef will whip up a Derby Day treat in celebration of Top Chef’s upcoming season in Kentucky;
  • Nick Luck hosts a feature on 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn, who is trained by Aidan O’Brien in the U.K.

COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby features hosts Bob Costas, a 27-time Emmy Award-winner, and Mike Tirico; NBCSN host Laffit Pincay, III; analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey and two-time Kentucky Derby winner; handicappers Eddie Olczyk and Britney Eurton, who makes her NBC Sports Group Triple Crown debut; reporters Donna Brothers, Carolyn Manno, and Kenny Rice; and race caller Larry Collmus. Former U.S. Olympic figure skaters and NBC figure skating analysts Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski reprise their roles as fashion and lifestyle experts along with NBC News weather anchor and correspondent Dylan Dreyer; and NBC Sports Group’s NASCAR features reporter Rutledge Wood returns. Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated will also contribute to NBC Sports Group’s coverage.

The coordinating producer of NBC’s horse racing coverage is Rob Hyland, who has been a part of the network’s horse racing coverage since 2001. The Kentucky Derby is directed by Sunday Night Football and NBC Sports’ horse racing director, Drew Esocoff. The coverage on NBCSN is produced by Billy Matthews and directed by Pierre Moossa. The executive producer of NBC Sports and NBCSN is Sam Flood.

MORE THAN 28 HOURS OF TRIPLE CROWN COVERAGE: NBC Sports Group will present more than 28 hours of Triple Crown coverage this season from Churchill Downs, Pimlico and Belmont Park, including live racing from all three tracks prior to the Triple Crown races. This marks the eighth consecutive year that all three Triple Crown races will air on NBC.

Read the full release here.