NBC Sports, fresh off of their Sports Emmy Award juggernaut, has the coverage for this weekend's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. That means if Larry Conley is covering a baseball game somewhere, he WILL leave the television booth to watch the race. That's OK though, he does it every year and his booth partner always fills in admirably
Casual race fans who have little or no interest in the blue-blood stables that usually dominate the race will want to keep an eye on General Quarters (pictured above). This horse was bought for $20,000 and is owned by a retired high school principal. After all, we all love underdog stories, right?
Here are the post postions, jockey, trainer, and current odds (as of April 29, 2009) for this year's "Run for the Roses."
1. West Side Bernie (Stewart Elliott, Kelly Breen), 30-1
2. Musket Man (Eibar Coa, Derek Ryan), 20-1
3. Mr. Hot Stuff (John Velazquez, Eoin Harty), 30-1
4. Advice (Rene Douglas, Todd Pletcher), 30-1
5. Hold Me Back (Kent Desormeaux, Bill Mott), 15-1
6. Friesan Fire (Gabriel Saez, Larry Jones), 5-1
7. Papa Clem (Rafael Bejarano, Gary Stute), 20-1
8. Mine That Bird (Calvin Borel, Bennie Woolley Jr.), 50-1
9. Join in the Dance (Chris DeCarlo, Todd Pletcher), 50-1
10. Regal Ransom (Alan Garcia, Saeed bin Suroor), 30-1
11. Chocolate Candy (Mike Smith, Jerry Hollendorfer), 20-1
12. General Quarters (Julien Leparoux, Jeff Mullins), 20-1
13. I Want Revenge (Joe Talamo, Jeff Mullins), 3-1
14. Atomic Bird (Joe Bravo, Kelly Breen), 50-1
15. Dunkirk (Edgar Prado, Todd Pletcher), 4-1
16. Pioneerof the Nile (Garrett Gomez, Bob Baffert), 4-1
17. Summer Bird (Chris Rosier, Tim Ice), 50-1
18. Nowhere to Hide (Shaun Bridgmohan, Nick Zito), 50-1
19. Desert Party (Ramon Dominguez, Saeed bin Suroor), 15-1
20. Flying Private (Robby Albarado, D. Wayne Lukas), 50-1
If you just want to see the race live, tune in around 6:00 PM ET or so (post time is estimated for 6:04 PM ET).
If you want to see all if the rest of the hoopla and extraneous things like Al Roker and the red carpet entrances, you can find all of the details in the following NBC Sports release.
NBC Sports broadcasts exclusive coverage of the 135th Kentucky Derby this Saturday starting at 4 p.m. ET. NBC Sports' broadcast will bring the spectacle of the Kentucky Derby, which has been contested annually since 1875, home to viewers with behind-the-scenes access, celebrities and fashion surrounding the legendary Run for the Roses. The Red Carpet will feature celebrity interviews as the stars arrive to Churchill Downs to enjoy the greatest day in horse racing.
Bob Costas and Tom Hammond co-host the Derby alongside three-time Derby winner Gary Stevens. NBC Sports' broadcast team also includes race-caller Tom Durkin; contributing analysts Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; reporter Kenny Rice and on-track reporter Donna Brothers, who retired in 1998 after an impressive 11-year career as a jockey. The Kentucky Derby on NBC is produced by Sam Flood and directed by David Michaels. Additionally, the TODAY Show's Al Roker will contribute reports and Nancy O'Dell, co-host of "Access Hollywood" and author of "Full of Life: Mom-To-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant," and Tiki Barber of "Football Night in America" will handle Red Carpet arrivals.
THE DERBY ACCORDING TO NEUMEIER: "Conventional wisdom suggests the Kentucky Derby is annually a wide-open, ultra-competitive race, with many of the 19 entrants enjoying a reasonable chance for success. But lately the Derby has been controlled by highly-rated favorites and this year's edition figures to be won by one of the top three choices. They would include Pioneerof the Nile, I Want Revenge and the lightly raced but talented Dunkirk. Each has legitimate merits, which makes 'just-who-will-go-off-the-favorite?' an interesting subplot in the run-up to the race.
"As usual, the Derby is rich with fascinating storylines. Can newly elected Hall-of-Fame trainer Bob Baffert win his fourth Derby with Pioneerof the Nile? Will conditioner Todd Pletcher break a 0-for-21 Derby slump with Dunkirk? Is it possible that an underdog could come from the one-horse barn of former high school principal Tom McCarthy with General Quarters, who he claimed for the bargain-basement price of $20,000? These are just a few of the many stories that dot this year's Derby."
STEVENS TOP FIVE:
• Fresian Fire
• I Want Revenge
• Desert Party
• Regal Ransom
• Pioneerof the Nile
"There are 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby and they all have a chance, don't throw any of them out. I would be very happy riding any of the 20, but those five would be my top picks."
NBCSPORTS.COM AT THE DERBY: NBCSports.com will be streaming the draw live on Wednesday at Noon, ET and the site will also live stream the tote board during the pre-race broadcast Saturday so fans can get up-to-the-minute information on the latest odds directly from Churchill Downs.
Additionally, NBCSports.com, in conjunction with Icue, will present a video-quiz application that tests knowledge of past Kentucky Derby winners and events, and is available on NBCSports.com and Facebook.
SEE THE DERBY ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE: Users on the go can watch the Kentucky Derby live on their mobile phones exclusively through NBC 2Go and NBC Sports Mobile. Plus, fans can watch exclusive video and race replays on-demand on NBC Sports Mobile Video (check your carrier for availability).
LUCKY U GAME: NBC Sports and Churchill Downs are joining together to present The Kentucky Derby Lucky U Game for the third consecutive year. Last year, the Lucky U Game generated more than 500,000 entries. Lucky U is a contest where a lucky fan can win a cash prize and a trip to the 2010 Kentucky Derby. Once the field for the Derby is set on Wednesday, horse racing fans will be able to vote for the horse that they think will win. The winner will receive $10,000 in cash and a 2010 Kentucky Derby VIP Experience provided by Churchill Downs, including tickets to the Derby, round-trip transportation, and accommodations. Viewers of NBC's Kentucky Derby broadcast and other horse racing fans will be invited to enter by sending a text message for their choice from their cell phone. Standard text messaging charges apply. Fans can also enter by going online to NBCSports.com/luckyu.
LADIES FIRST: BRAVO AT THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Bravo will feature the very best in food, fashion and the celebrity experience associated with the great spectacle of Kentucky Derby weekend including Kentucky Oaks 135 on "Ladies First: Bravo at the Kentucky Derby," a one-hour special produced by NBC Sports, LIVE this Friday at 5 p.m. ET/PT. The special, hosted by NBC's Costas, "Access Hollywood's" O'Dell, and "The Real Housewives of New York City's" Bethenny Frankel, daughter of horse trainer Bobby Frankel, celebrates a day for women and gives viewers a history on the fashion and festivities before and after the Oaks race. NBC's Barber will check-in live from the Infield Club with "Top Chef" series five finalist Stefan Richter, and season four and five "Top Chef" winners Stephanie Izard and Hosea Rosenberg. "Top Chef: The Tour," a state-of-the-art customized traveling kitchen with expansive space to accommodate cooks and fans alike, will make a special stop at the Kentucky Oaks – in the Infield Club.
Frankel, a racing aficionado and best-selling author, will provide a female perspective to handicapping and betting at the Kentucky Oaks, and along with O'Dell will take viewers through the spectacular fashion and hats on display over the weekend.
KENTUCKY DERBY A RATINGS SUCCESS: NBC's coverage of the 2008 Kentucky Derby grabbed 11.5 million viewers, equaling its best delivery in six years. Since 2001 when the Kentucky Derby moved from ABC to NBC, average viewership has increased more than two million viewers (24 percent) over the previous eight years on ABC.
KENTUCKY DERBY ON NBC: NBC Sports began its exclusive coverage of the Kentucky Derby, the longest continuously held sporting event in North America, in 2001. In May 2005, NBC Sports and Churchill Downs Incorporated reached an agreement giving the network the exclusive broadcast rights to the Kentucky Derby beginning in 2006 and continuing through 2010.