News Releases

Tuesday, November 08, 2011Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326
The Jockey Club Partners with NBC Sports Group & Racetracks to Broadcast Road to the Kentucky Derby

Four Consecutive Weekends on NBC, NBC Sports Network and CNBC in the Spring of 2012

NEW YORK – November 8, 2011 – The Jockey Club, in collaboration with the NBC Sports Group, CNBC and six racetracks, will provide live coverage of six major prep races for the 2012 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands over four consecutive weekends next spring, it was announced today.

The series will be highlighted by a 90-minute live broadcast on NBC featuring the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park on April 7, 2012.

The other four Kentucky Derby prep races are the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes from Turfway Park on March 24 and the Florida Derby from Gulfstream Park on March 31, both of which will air on the NBC Sports Network (which will be renamed from VERSUS on Jan. 2, 2012), and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland Race Course and the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park, which will air on CNBC on April 14.

“The Jockey Club is proud to work with our television and racetrack partners to bring more of our sport’s best racing to a national audience,” said Ogden Mills Phipps, Chairman of The Jockey Club. “Increasing the television presence of Thoroughbred racing is just the first step in a long term, multi-media strategy focused on fan retention and development. Together with racetracks and other industry organizations, we plan to aggressively cross-promote Thoroughbred racing on a variety of traditional and new digital media platforms.”

“These races are important steppingstones to the Kentucky Derby,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “And this programming further demonstrates the NBC Sports Group’s commitment to the sport of Thoroughbred racing, which already includes long-term deals for the Triple Crown races as well as with Saratoga and Keeneland.”

Increased television coverage of Thoroughbred racing and the development of a new digital media strategy were among nine recommendations identified in the major economic study of the Thoroughbred industry that was commissioned by The Jockey Club, and conducted in association with the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, earlier this year. The findings and recommendations were announced in August at The Jockey Club’s Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.


Saturday, March 24, 2012, 5-6 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)

Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes and Bourbonette Oaks (Turfway Park)

Saturday, March 31, 2012, 5-6 p.m. (NBC Sports Network)

Florida Derby and Gulfstream Oaks (Gulfstream Park)

Saturday, April 7, 2012, 4:30-6 p.m. (NBC)

Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (Aqueduct Racetrack) and Santa Anita Derby (Santa Anita Park)

Saturday, April 14, 2012, 6-7 p.m. ET (CNBC)

Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (Keeneland) and Arkansas Derby (Oaklawn Park)


Charles Hayward, President and CEO, The New York Racing Association: “The Wood Memorial has a long, rich history as a key prep race for the Kentucky Derby and we are elated that a national television audience will be able to enjoy the 2012 edition on NBC.”

Nick Nicholson, President and CEO, Keeneland Association Inc.: “We have received a tremendous response to the national television coverage from Keeneland this fall and we are pleased that the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes will be televised nationally. Keeneland is very supportive of The Jockey Club’s strategic initiative to grow fan interest in our sport.”

Greg Avioli, CEO and President of Stronach Entertainment, parent company of Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park: “The Santa Anita Derby and Florida Derby showcase some of the nation’s top 3-year-olds from both coasts every year and we are thrilled that a national television audience will get to see these two important events from our facilities.”

Charles J. Cella, President, Oaklawn Park: “Since the advent of the Racing Festival of the South more than 30 years ago, Oaklawn has hosted numerous champions and the centerpiece of our racing – the Arkansas Derby – has become one of the most important races for 3-year-olds in North America. We’re pleased that fans will be able to watch the 2012 Arkansas Derby on a national television broadcast.”

Bob Elliston, President and CEO, Turfway Park: “Turfway Park has served as the final tuneup for a number of Kentucky Derby hopefuls and as we all know, last year’s winner of the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, Animal Kingdom, went on to win the Run for the Roses a few weeks later. Televising these races benefits not only the host tracks but the entire racing industry.”


NBC SPORTS AND HORSE RACING: The NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to Horse Racing’s Triple Crown. This year marked the first time that all three appeared on one network since NBC last aired the Triple Crown in 2005. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001. NBC Sports Group was also the home to Summer at Saratoga, seven straight weekends of live horse racing from Saratoga Race Course, and Autumn at Keeneland, two weekends of live horse racing from Keeneland Race Course, in 2011.

CNBC: CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news providing real-time data, analysis and information to more than 390 million homes worldwide.


THE JOCKEY CLUB: The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred racing and breeding, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms, among others. Additional information is available at