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.

369 horses nominated to compete in Triple Crown series

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A total of 369 3-year-olds were made eligible to compete in this year’s Triple Crown series during the early nomination period.

Each of the horses was nominated through a $600 payment to compete in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes. The Triple Crown opens May 6 with the Derby.

The number of nominated horses increased by 57 from last year’s total of 312. They include a record 37 horses based in Japan.

Among the notable horses is Forte, last year’s 2-year-old champion trained by Todd Pletcher.

Also among the predominantly male horses nominated was a filly named Hoosier Philly.

Brad Cox led all trainers with 38 horses nominated to the series. Pletcher was second with 36 horses, followed by Steve Asmussen and Ken McPeek with 13 each. Chad Brown and Hideyuki Mori had 12 each.

Others nominated include Arabian Knight, Cave Rock and Newgate, all trained by Bob Baffert. He is currently banned by Churchill Downs Inc. through this year’s Derby, although Baffert is challenging his two-year punishment in federal court.

For the Derby, horses under the care of any suspended trainer may be transferred to another trainer and become eligible to earn Derby qualifying points as long as the transfer is done by Feb. 28.

Last year, Baffert transferred two horses to another trainer and both ran in the Derby, although neither was highly placed.

Horses that were not nominated to the Triple Crown series by the early deadline of Jan. 28 can make a late payment of $6,000 through March 27 to become eligible.

Newgate wins Robert B. Lewis Stakes; Baffert runs 1-2-3-4

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Newgate won the $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes by a neck, with Bob Baffert as the trainer of all four horses in the Kentucky Derby prep race at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Newgate ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.11 and paid $4 and $2.60 as the even-money favorite. There was no show wagering because of the field size.

Hard to Figure returned $5.20 at 12-1 odds. Worcester was another 1 3/4 lengths back in third. Arabian Lion was fourth.

“So much improvement in all these horses,” Baffert said. “I was actually nervous before the race, worried that something weird might happen, but I can relax now.”

The Lewis was a Kentucky Derby prep race, but no points were awarded because Baffert has been banned for two years by Churchill Downs Inc. The Hall of Fame trainer was in Louisville to testify in federal court as he seeks a temporary injunction to end the suspension, which runs through the end of the upcoming spring meet. It was meted out following a failed drug test by Medina Spirit after the colt finished first in the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

Newgate earned his first graded stakes victory. The colt was second, beaten by a neck in the Sham Stakes last month in his previous start.

“Frankie Dettori has been teaching him how to just sit back, relax and come with a punch and that’s what he did today,” Baffert said.

The victory, worth $120,000, increased Newgate’s career earnings to $241,975, with two wins in six starts.