|Contact: Eric Wing, NTRA, (212) 907-9283
Cameron Blanchard, NBC, (212) 664-7202
Jeff Shapes, Conover Tuttle, (203) 249-9202
NBC SPORTS KICKS OFF COVERAGE OF 2003 VISA TRIPLE CROWN WITH "NTRA ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY"
With the first jewel of the 2003 VISA Triple Crown, the 129th Kentucky Derby, three weeks away, NBC Sports will focus on horseracing's three-year- old picture this Saturday, April 12, with the 90-minute telecast of "NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby." The show will air from 4:30-6:00 p.m. (ET) and will feature live coverage of the Grade I, $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky., and the Grade II, $500,000 Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.
Also slated for the show is a recap of the Grade I, $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes, run earlier in the day at New York's Aqueduct Racetrack, and a comprehensive preview of the May 3 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
Saturday's telecast will feature NBC's VISA Triple Crown broadcast lineup: host Tom Hammond, analysts Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier, commentator Charlsie Cantey and reporter Kenny Rice. Hammond, Battaglia, Cantey and Rice will report from Keeneland, with Neumeier at Aqueduct.
Likely to contest the 1 1/8 miles Blue Grass is the Robert Frankel-trained Peace Rules, who won the Grade II Louisiana Derby in his last race; Badge of Silver, winner of the Grade III Risen Star Stakes; and Lion Tamer.
A field of 12 was entered yesterday for the 1 1/8 miles Arkansas Derby. Heading the group are Region of Merit and Aristocat, the top two finishers in the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby. Others entered are Eugene's Third Son, second in the Grade II Lane's End Stakes; Man Among Men, winner of the Sham Stakes; Crowned King, who was first in the Rebel Stakes; and Cat Genius.
"NTRA Road to the Kentucky Derby" culminates two-and-one-half hours of two- network, live racing coverage that begins at 3:30 p.m. with a one-hour telecast of "CITGO Racing to the Kentucky Derby" on ESPN. The ESPN program will present live coverage of the Wood Memorial Stakes and the Bay Shore Stakes, both from Aqueduct.
Also on Saturday, fans will have the opportunity to pick the winners of the Wood Memorial Stakes, the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and the Arkansas Derby in the "Big 3 Pick 3," a $1 national pick-three wager.
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 administer 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, www.ntra.com.
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