Half the horses in Preakness field get first shot at Justify

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BALTIMORE — Half the participants in the eight-horse Preakness field have yet to experience the sensation of chasing Justify to the finish line.

Perhaps one of the new shooters in Saturday’s race can find a way to leave the Kentucky Derby winner in his wake.

Preakness Stakes: What Time, Where to Watch and More

Quip, Sporting Chance, Diamond King and Tenfold skipped the Derby to focus on earning a chunk of the $1.5 million Preakness purse.

History just might be on their side.

A new shooter – a horse which runs in one of the two remaining Triple Crown races after passing up the Derby – has won the Preakness four times since 2000. Just last year, Cloud Computing paid $13.40 in an upset over Derby winner Always Dreaming.

Then again…

“Derby runners have done well over the course of time,” insisted W. Elliott Walden, president and CEO of racing operations for WinStar Farm, which owns Justify and Quip. “Now is it because they’re the better horses? Quite possibly that’s the case. They’re just the best horses of the crop and that’s why they run in the Kentucky Derby.”

The finest of the newcomers this year appears to be Quip, who has three wins and a second-place showing in five career races.

“He’s a really good horse. He’s fast,” Justify trainer Bob Baffert said of Quip.

Trained by Rodolphe Brisset and ridden by last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Florent Geroux, Quip captured the Tampa Derby in March before finishing second in the Arkansas Derby.

While unbeaten Justify comes in with just two weeks’ rest – the quickest turnaround of his career – Quip enters the Preakness coming off an extended break.

“Quip is a horse that has shown quality at the highest level,” Walden said. “We feel like he could have run in the Kentucky Derby, but we wanted to give him a chance to catch up to himself. He’s a slight-made horse we felt like would do better with the five weeks rest.”

Quip had a pair of wins last year before staggering to a seventh-place showing in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in November.

In retrospect, that might have been a turning point.

“He’s changed a lot,” Brisset said. “After the Kentucky Jockey Club, we gave him a couple of weeks off and you could see the maturation. You still have to be a little careful when he’s around too many horses, but he’s way more professional.”

Well, Quip -the third choice at 12-1 – will have only seven other horses to contend with on Saturday. Two of them will be saddled by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Lukas brings back Bravazo, who finished sixth in the Derby, along with Sporting Chance.

Unlike the rest of the first-time Triple Crown participants, Sporting Chance is no fresher than the Derby horses. Sporting Chance (30-1) also ran at Churchill Downs on May 5, taking fourth in the Pat Day Mile.

Asked to assess the chances of both his entrants Saturday, Lukas shrugged his shoulders and saluted Justify’s impressive performance at the Derby.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence if he runs that same race. Let’s be honest, at 82 you get more realistic,” Lukas said. “If he’s the best horse, so be it. We’ll throw the bouquets his way and salute him as a second-leg winner and go on to the Belmont. But we’ll try to get the best piece of this we can.”

Tenfold (20-1) began racing this year. Sired by 2007 Preakness winner Curlin, the dark brown colt won his first two races before fading to third in the Arkansas Derby last month.

“We have a fresh horse; he’s put on weight since the Arkansas Derby and he’s trained really well at Churchill Downs,” assistant trainer Scott Blasi said. “The timing is good for us for this race.”

If the track is soggy, that would be even better. Curlin earned 2007 Horse of the Year honors after slogging to victory in the muddy Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“With all this wet weather, him being a Curlin, he steps up with the sloppy track and moves forward,” Blasi said.

Trained by John Servis, Diamond King (30-1) won the Federico Tesio Stakes at nearby Laurel Park in April. While Diamond King probably doesn’t have the speed and stamina of Justify, he does trainer who won the Kentucky Derby and jockey Javier Castellano, who guided Cloud Computing to victory at last year’s Preakness.

“We’ve got a top jockey and the horse is doing really well,” co-owner Chuck Zacney said.

Baffert has already beaten three of the horses in the field. Though he’s never faced the others, they certainly have grabbed his attention.

“You’ve got new shooters,” Baffert said. “John Servis didn’t come for the crab cakes. Then you’ve got Quip. And Wayne? You can’t count Wayne Lukas out. That’s when he does the most damage, when nobody’s talking about him, he’s under the radar. He still knows his horses and he’s up here for a reason.”

NBC to broadcast the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational in January 2019

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The Stronach Group Adds $7 Million Grade 1 Turf Stakes to Race Day Festivities

2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner Accelerate to Run in 2019 Pegasus World Cup Invitational

NBC’s Live Coverage of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series will be streamed on NBCSports.com & the NBC Sports app

STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 8, 2018 – NBC Sports Group has reached an agreement with The Stronach Group for exclusive United States media rights to the third annual running of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational on January 26, 2019 from The Stronach Group’s Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Among the entries for the 2019 running of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational is 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate.

Building on the success of 2017 and 2018, The Stronach Group has expanded the 2019 event for both horse owners and fans by turning the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational into a championship series.  The Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series will include the $9 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1), to be contested on the dirt at 1 1/8 miles offering $4 million for the winner of the 12-horse field and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1), to be run on the turf at 1 3/16 mile. The Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational will replace the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and aims to attract and showcase 12 of the best turf horses from around the world as they compete for a $3 million first place prize.

NBC will air a live 90-minute program featuring both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. The broadcast will also showcase the Pegasus “blue” carpet, celebrity and live entertainment event elements from Gulfstream Park at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 26, 2019. All coverage will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.

“The Stronach Group is thrilled to once again partner with NBC Sports to bring the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series to life,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, The Stronach Group. “Our live broadcast and streaming partnership with NBC Sports reflects our company’s commitment to collaborating with top tier partners to showcase the entertainment and excitement of this world-class Thoroughbred horse racing event.”

“We are excited to partner with The Stronach Group to kick off our 2019 horse racing coverage with North America’s richest race,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports Group. “For the past two years, the Pegasus World Cup has thrilled viewers, and we’re honored to continue to present it to horse racing fans nationwide.”

Past winners of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational include Arrogate, the 2016 Eclipse Award Winning Champion Three Year Old Male and the top earning Thoroughbred of all time, and 2017 Horse of the Year, Gun Runner.  On the heels of an exciting Breeders’ Cup Classic win with Accelerate, trainer John Sadler’s next stop will be the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series where he has committed to spots on the dirt, with Accelerate, and on the turf.

In addition, The Stronach Group will offer a $1 million bonus to the owner who wins both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational and will be introducing a new race day wager, the Pegasus Pick 24.  The Pegasus Pick 24 will provide fans with the chance to bet on the exact finish order for both the Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. A $5 million bonus awaits the lucky fan that hits on the Pegasus Pick 24.

Follow all of the excitement of the 2019 Pegasus World Cup on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @PegasusWorldCup #PegasusWorldCup #RunWithUs.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: In addition to the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, 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 Royal Ascot and 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.

 

THE STRONACH GROUP: The Stronach Group (TSG) is a world-class technology, entertainment and real estate development company with Thoroughbred racing and pari-mutuel wagering at the core. TSG encompasses five distinct business areas that are inter-related and supportive of each other, enabling TSG to be the most dominant player in the Thoroughbred horse racing industry in the United States, with business relations around the globe. TSG business areas include Technology, Entertainment, Racing, Real Estate Development and Agriculture. TSG is dedicated to delivering the best in class Thoroughbred racing content and operations. The company holds some of the greatest brands in the industry, including Southern California’s Santa Anita Park, “The Great Race Place”; South Florida’s Gulfstream Park, home to the US $16 million Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series and retail destination, The Village at Gulfstream Park; Pimlico Race Course, home of the legendary Preakness Stakes, Laurel Park and Rosecroft Raceway in Maryland; Oregon’s Portland Meadows; and the San Francisco Bay Area’s, Golden Gate Fields. TSG is a leader in digital and mobile wagering technology through its subsidiaries AmTote and Xpressbet and is a major distributor of horse racing content to a global audience through Monarch Content Management. Please visit www.stronachgroup.com for more information

–NBC SPORTS GROUP–

 

For more on NBC Sports Group please contact:

Dan Masonson

Dan.Masonson@NBCUni.com

 

For more information on The Pegasus World Cup Invitational or The Stronach Group please contact:

Tiffani Steer, Vice President, Communications and Events, The Stronach Group

tiffani.steer@stronachgroup.com

NBC Sports & Churchill Downs to debut Road to the Kentucky Derby magazine series in Spring 2019

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NBC Sports, The Home of Horse Racing in U.S., Adds Two 2019 Triple Crown Prep Races with Live Coverage of Louisiana Derby & Arkansas Derby on NBCSN

 

STAMFORD, Conn. and LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – November 8, 2018 – As the home of horse racing in the United States, NBC Sports will expand its programming in 2019, collaborating with Churchill Downs on a new magazine-style series, and adding a pair of crucial prep races.

In partnership with Churchill Downs, NBC Sports will debut a new Road to the Kentucky Derby series this spring, leading up to NBC’s coverage of the 145th Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve on Saturday, May 4. In March, NBCSN will debut the first of the four 30-minute Road to the Kentucky Derby episodes, which will showcase the stars of the sport, telling the stories behind the horses and the legendary race. Produced by Churchill Downs, the episodes will provide viewers with an inside look of the extensive preparations for the first leg of the Triple Crown. Keith Wetzler, Executive Producer of Broadcast at Churchill Downs, will produce the series.

In addition, NBC Sports will add the $1 million Louisiana Derby and the $1 million Arkansas Derby to its lineup of 2019 Triple Crown prep races on NBCSN next spring. The first episode of the new Road to the Kentucky Derby series will debut following the Louisiana Derby on March 23.

NBCSN is now home to the six biggest prep races in 2019, leading up to NBC Sports’ coverage of the “Run for the Roses” at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. A month of key prep race coverage on NBCSN begins with the Louisiana Derby on Saturday, March 23, followed one week later by the Florida Derby on Saturday, March 30. Coverage continues on NBCSN with “triplecast” coverage of the Wood Memorial, the Bluegrass Stakes, and the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, April 6, before the Arkansas Derby on Saturday, April 13.

On Saturday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN will televise the $1 million Louisiana Derby from Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans. Last year’s victor, Noble Indy, won by a head over Lone Sailor in a wild finish, and went on to run in both the 2018 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

Coverage of the $1 million Arkansas Derby, the final prep race before the Kentucky Derby, will begin on Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The most celebrated champion of the Arkansas Derby, American Pharaoh in 2015, went on to become the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2019 horse racing season begins with the Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 4:30 pm ET on NBC.

Below is NBC Sports Group’s 2019 prep race schedule leading up to the 2019 Kentucky Derby (All Times ET):

Sat., March 23 5:30 p.m. Louisiana Derby NBCSN
Sat., March 30 6 p.m. Florida Derby NBCSN
Sat., April 6 5:30 p.m. Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes & Santa Anita Derby NBCSN
Sat., April 13 7 p.m. Arkansas Derby NBCSN
Sat., May 4 4 p.m. Kentucky Derby NBC

 

NBC Sports Group and Horse Racing: 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. 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.

 

About Churchill Downs Racetrack: Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 4, 2019. Information is available at www.ChurchillDowns.com.

 

Contacts:

Dan Masonson, NBC Sports Group

203/356-2790

Dan.Masonson@NBCUni.com

 

Darren Rogers, Churchill Downs

502/636-4461

Darren.Rogers@KyDerby.com