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MAJOR VISA TRIPLE CROWN PREP RACES TO AIR APRIL 13 ON NBC AND ESPN
Back-to-Back Telecasts of Wood Memorial and Toyota Blue Grass, Key Preps for May 4 Kentucky Derby
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that two-network, 2½-hour coverage of the final major prep races for the 2002 Kentucky Derby will air live on April 13 on ESPN and NBC, three weeks before the Run for the Roses. The ESPN (3:30-4:30 p.m., ET) and NBC (4:30-6:00 p.m., ET) telecasts will feature the Wood Memorial and Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, respectively, and together offer comprehensive coverage and analysis of the horses and races likely to play key roles in the Kentucky Derby.
The May 4 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., will be televised by NBC, with same-day pre-event coverage offered by ESPN and ESPN2.
The $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park, N.Y., airs on ESPN as part of the CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby Series. The Wood has produced each of the last two Kentucky Derby winners, Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) and Monarchos (2001). The NBC telecast of the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes will originate from Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky., and will recap the 2002 Triple Crown prep race season as well as preview the Kentucky Derby.
"This new April 13 'doubleheader' will help introduce more fans to the leading Kentucky Derby and VISA Triple Crown contenders," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith. "This expanded coverage also, we hope, will help continue last year's impressive TV ratings momentum for the Triple Crown."
"Keeneland is proud to be the host track for this new NBC telecast," said Keeneland President Nick Nicholson. "The Triple Crown Prep Show is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Thoroughbred racing and reaches sports fans when interest in the Triple Crown is nearing its peak."
The enhanced network coverage of the Triple Crown prep season complements the NTRA's newly expanded Road to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on ESPN, the summer racing series that continues on CBS, the second year of the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge on CNBC as well as the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and its Preview Day, both on NBC.
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horseracing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program and the Great State Challenge. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site, NTRA.com.
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