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2012 Kentucky Derby Recap: A Ratings Success for NBC

Mario Gutierrez was successful with his first Kentucky Derby mount, guiding I'll Have Another to the wire first in the 138th Run for the Roses.
Mario Gutierrez was successful with his first Kentucky Derby mount, guiding I'll Have Another to the wire first in the 138th Run for the Roses.Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Marc DocheCorrespondent IMay 9, 2012

The 14.8 million recorded viewers of the 2012 Kentucky Derby generated a national rating of 9 with a 20 share, per Nielsen’s figures released to Bleacher Report by the NBC Sports Group.  It marked the third most viewers of the world’s most famous race since 1990 and the fourth consecutive year that at least 14.5 million watched.

Along with the record crowd of 165,307 on hand at Churchill Downs and the millions more watching at race tracks, bars, parties, and sports books around the country, that adds up to a lot of eyes watching the greatest two minutes in sports.

Not only was the Derby the highest rated sports program of the weekend, topping both ABC’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs and Fox’s coverage of Nascar by wide margins, but it was the third-highest rated sporting event since the Super Bowl, only behind two of the three Final Four games on CBS.

Not bad for a dying sport.

Additionally, the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby is popular with the ladies, as 51% of viewers over the age of 18 were females, making it the only annual sporting event that draws more sets of female eye balls than male.

At odds of 15-to-1, I’ll Have Another crossed the finish line first under the Twin Spires, running down favored pace setter Bodemeister to give all of his connections their first taste of success in the Run for the Roses.

It’s on to Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Md. for the Preakness Stakes next Saturday, May 19, where I’ll Have Another looks to get one step closer to becoming the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.

NBC will once again televise the second leg of the Triple Crown with the full schedule listed below. 


Fri. May 18

3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Preakness Classics

NBC Sports Network


4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Black Eyed Susan Stakes

NBC Sports Network

Sat. May 19

2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Preakness Stakes Saturday

NBC Sports Network


4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Preakness Stakes



6:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Preakness Post-Race Show

NBC Sports Network

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @mdoche for much more and visit for daily selections and analysis!

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