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Dolphus Morrison, breeder of Rachel Alexandra, dies at 82

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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Dolphus Morrison, a longtime horseman and the breeder of the great filly Rachel Alexandra, has died. He was 82.

He died Wednesday at a nursing home and had Alzheimer’s, his wife, Ellen, said.

Morrison was involved in thoroughbred racing for more than three decades when he and trainer Hal Wiggins struck gold with Rachel Alexandra in 2009. The champion filly, named after a granddaughter of Morrison’s, won the Preakness that year and became the face of his breeding program.

“He was kind, he was smart, he was generous,” breeder and longtime friend Dede McGehee of Heaven Trees Farm told The Blood-Horse, a thoroughbred racing trade publication. “He was a little unorthodox at times, but he was a father figure to me. He was kind to everyone who worked on the farm, he was kind to everyone who worked on the track. He treated everybody with respect.”

After Wiggins decided to switch jockeys to Calvin Borel, Rachel Alexandra took off on a nine-race winning streak. Rachel Alexandra soared to victory in the Kentucky Oaks by a record 20 1/4 lengths and became the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Other victories in 2009 included the Haskell and Woodward, and she was honored as Horse of the Year. This past August she was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

Morrison nearly sold Rachel Alexandra when she didn’t display early signs of the champion she would become. She finished sixth in her 2-year-old debut in May 2008 at Churchill Downs and won only two of her first five starts. He and partner Mike Lauffer finally sold her to Stonestreet Stables before the Preakness.

Morrison ended his breeding operation in 2012.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children and two grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.

NBC presents 22 hours of daily live coverage of Royal Ascot

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STAMFORD, Conn. – June 14, 2018 – NBC Sports presents daily live coverage of the Royal Meeting in Ascot, Berkshire, England  – one of the most prestigious horse racing meets in the world – including the first-ever NBC broadcast of the race on Saturday, June 23, at 9 a.m. ET. Live coverage of the event begins Tuesday, June 19, at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN, with daily telecasts of the full five-day Royal meeting on NBCSN through Friday, June 22. In total, NBC Sports Group will present 22 hours of coverage over the five days.

Royal Ascot is one of the world’s most valuable horse racing events, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses.  The event features 30 races, including eight at the world championship “Group One” level. Highlighting the American contingent is trainer Wesley Ward, who has won nine races at Royal Ascot over the years. He is scheduled to bring 10 horses to Ascot this year, highlighted by Lady Aurelia, who is looking to win her third straight race at The Royal Meeting. She races in the King’s Stand on Tuesday during NBCSN’s first day of coverage.

The Royal Meeting is the center of the British social season and a pivotal week in the calendar of the Royal Family, who arrive every day by the world famous “Royal Procession” – with the first carriage carrying The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

NBC News’ Dylan Dreyer makes her Royal Ascot debut on Friday and Saturday, alongside Nick Luck, who will host coverage for all five days. On Friday morning, June 22, Dreyer will report live from Berkshire on TODAY.

Following is NBC Sports’ schedule for the Royal Ascot next week:

Date Time (ET) Show Network
Tues., June 19 8:30 a.m. Royal Ascot NBCSN
Wed., June 20 8:30 a.m. Royal Ascot NBCSN
Thurs., June 21 8:30 a.m. Royal Ascot NBCSN
Fri., June 22 8:30 a.m. Royal Ascot NBCSN
Sat., June 23 9 a.m. Royal Ascot NBC

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs – will stream coverage of the Royal Meeting. The NBC Sports app will stream coverage via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high-quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. Powered by Playmaker Media, the NBC Sports app is available on Apple iOS, Android and select Samsung devices, as well as on Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Win10, and Xbox.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: In addition to the Royal Ascot, NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup. Also in 2018, NBC Sports Group televised the world’s richest horse race (the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational) and the $10 million Dubai World Cup, and in June presented the Epsom Derby. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001, and the Belmont Stakes since 2011, when NBC Sports Group reassembled the Triple Crown.

Owners: Triple Crown winner Justify will race again

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NEW YORK (AP) Triple Crown winner Justify will get a well-deserved break and then race again this year, although no date or location has been targeted yet after the colt came out of his Belmont Stakes victory in good condition.

Elliott Walden of WinStar Farm said Sunday the multi-owner group that controls Justify wants to share the horse with the public by racing him. A plan will be formulated once the chestnut colt recovers from a compressed schedule that saw him win six races over 111 days since his debut on Feb. 18.

Justify is set to return to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday. On June 17, the colt will travel to trainer Bob Baffert’s base in Southern California to await his next move.

Justify became the 13th Triple Crown winner and second in four years with a victory Saturday in the Belmont after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.