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NBC Sports Group and Royal Ascot Partner on Six-Year Media Rights Extension

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NBC Sports Group, the Home of Horse Racing, Will Present More than 20 Live Hours of Royal Ascot Race Coverage Annually, With Increased On-Site Presence

Live Coverage of Royal Ascot Will Be Streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App

STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 8, 2018 – NBC Sports Group and the Royal Meeting in Ascot, Berkshire, England – one of the most prestigious horse racing meets in the world – have reached a six-year agreement to extend NBC Sports Group’s exclusive United States media rights to the event through 2025. Royal Ascot made its U.S. television debut on NBCSN in 2017.

NBC Sports Group will continue to present live coverage of the mid-June event for four consecutive days (Tuesday-Friday) with at least 4.5 hours each day (8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, and four hours of coverage during the final day of the event (Saturday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET) on NBC. In addition, NBC Sports will feature on-site hosts during its coverage, and offer an increased on-site presence. All coverage will be streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs.

Royal Ascot is one of the world’s most valuable horse racing events, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for more than $9 million in prize money.  The event features 30 races, including eight at world championship “Grade One” level.

“For the past two years, we have introduced an American audience to the pageantry and incredible racing that Royal Ascot has to offer,” said Jon Miller, President of Programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Royal Ascot and delighting horse racing fans nationwide for years to come.”

“NBC Sports has added a welcome new element to Royal Ascot and this extension ensures that the American audience will continue to be able to enjoy the best racing, and the best of British culture, fashion and pageantry for the next six years,” said Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer, Ascot. “The commitment NBC Sports has shown in terms of extensive on-course presentation, and talent on site, including within the TODAY show, is a great tribute to the event. Being on the NBC broadcast network on Saturday reaped huge reward this year with more than one million viewers.”

“The American runners we have seen at the Royal Meeting have added a new dimension to our historic meet, and NBC Sports has played a significant part in telling the global racing story to the U.S. audience,” added Nick Smith, Director of Racing at Ascot. “With star names from Royal Ascot – American horses like Tepin, Bucchero and Yoshida, plus numerous Europeans – running at the Breeders’ Cup in the fall each year, NBC Sports is the place to see the world’s best.”

As the home of horse racing, NBC Sports Group’s Royal Ascot coverage will complement its exclusive, long-term media agreements for all of the Triple Crown races – Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes – and the Breeders’ Cup.

The Royal Meeting is also the center of the British social season and a staple week in the calendar of the Royal Family, who arrive every day by the world famous “Royal Procession” – by which The Queen and members of her family arrive at the racecourse every day.

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 Pegasus World Cup Invitational 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.

Santa Anita to run three days a week, hike purses for six weeks

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Santa Anita will race three days a week instead of four over the next four weeks because the track has lost some of its horse population to out-of-state venues.

Several stables have shipped horses to Kentucky to run at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, leaving Santa Anita with fewer horses to race and smaller field sizes.

Track officials have yet to decide whether to race three days or four for the final three weeks of the spring meet, which ends June 23.

The track said Friday it is raising purses for all non-stake races by $10,000 each for the next six weeks as a way to help owners and trainers who lost money when the track was closed for most of March.

The deaths of 23 horses since Dec. 26 forced the closure while the track’s dirt surface was examined. Racing resumed March 29, with one horse death occurring since then as the result of injuries in a turf race.

The purse increase announced Friday begins April 26 and runs through June 2. Track officials will decide later whether to continue it through the end of the meet.

The increase is being funded by existing excess money in the purse account and money from The Stronach Group, which owns the track.

Thoroughbred Owners of California chairman Nick Alexander says his group will match the purse supplements funded by TSG in the hopes of returning to racing four days a week.

Churchill Downs enacts improvements for horse, rider safety

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Churchill Downs will invest $8 million for an on-site equine medical center as part of several other measures to improve safety for horses and riders.

The medical center is expected to open next March and will include a quarantine facility. Next month’s Kentucky Derby will have a temporary medical center. The track’s parent company, Churchill Downs Incorporated, will also hire an equine medical director to oversee safety at its facilities.

The historic track will also install camera surveillance with other improvements to the backside area.

Earlier Thursday, Churchill Downs and several other tracks announced they would phase out use of the anti-bleeding medication Lasix for horses within 24 hours of racing. The track later announced other initiatives, including advocating for additional equine medication reforms; the formation of an Office of Racing Integrity that will to develop uniformed medication and safety standards; formalizing concussion protocol for jockey safety; and adopting international standards for riding crop use.