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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.

Preakness 2018 Lineup: Preview Horses and Odds

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After 20 horses raced in the Kentucky Derby, the 2018 Preakness Stakes lineup features only eight horses. Kentucky Derby winner Justify looks to be the clear favorite, but he will have some tough competition. Here is a list of all the horses competing, along with their odds.

Justify

Odds: 1-2
The clear favorite, Justify has a strong chance at winning it all at Pimlico Race Course. The weather will make things interesting, but Justify could benefit from the muddy track at Pimlico after winning on a similar track at Churchill Downs.

Good Magic

Odds: 3-1
Good Magic is the favorite to spoil Justify’s Triple Crown aspirations. Good Magic’s pedigree is not to be dismissed. He’s the colt of Curlin, a horse who’s sired former Stakes winners Exaggerator, Stellar Wind, Keen Ice and Palace Malice. Win or lose, Good Magic won’t be running in the Belmont Stakes.

Preakness Stakes: What Time, Where to Watch and More

Quip

Odds: 12-1
Quip could also play spoiler at the Preakness. Trainer Rodolphe Brisset did not race Quip in the Kentucky Derby, stating the Preakness was the race that fit this horse the best.

Lone Sailor

Odds: 15-1
Lone Sailor finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby.

Bravazo

Odds: 20-1
Finishing two spots ahead of Lone Sailor at the Derby was Bravazo. Bravazo has been in good hands with trainer Wayne Lukas, who has trained six previous Preakness winners.

Tenfold

Odds: 20-1
Like Quip, Tenfold is also a colt of Curlin, so stamina is in his DNA.

Sporting Chance

Odds: 30-1
Sporting Chance could surprise, but the consensus is that this horse doesn’t have a great shot at placing.

Diamond King

Odds: 30-1
Diamond King may be well equipped to run in muddy conditions as his damsire, Malibu Moon, is the sire of Orb, the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner.

Trainer Lukas savoring first Kentucky Derby berth since 2015

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) The smile on D. Wayne Lukas’ face shows how much he still loves what he’s doing.

The 82-year-old trainer Hall of Fame trainer is still going strong, and especially enjoys this week. Lukas is back in the Kentucky Derby for the first time since 2015 with colt Bravazo running on Saturday, which has the four-time winner savoring being part of horse racing’s crown jewel.

2018 Kentucky Derby: How to Watch, Post Time, Horses and More

“I probably enjoy it a little bit more now,” said Lukas, who has earned more than $278 million lifetime and won 4,804 races, including 14 Triple Crown starts.

“I know that isn’t going to go on forever and I enjoy the whole atmosphere. It’s easier for me. The press conferences, everything, is a little easier. I’ve been there and know when to push and pull on that deal a little bit.”

Lukas’ return comes 30 years after his first Derby win with Winning Colors started an impressive run that included triumphs by Thunder Gulch (1995), Grindstone (’96) and Charismatic (’99).

For Lukas’ fellow horsemen, the comeback also seems to have added wholeness to this year’s Derby.

“We need Wayne,” said fellow Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, whom Lukas calls a good friend. “Wayne is so important to this race because he always set the bar for me. I want to be where Wayne is.”

Todd Pletcher, Lukas’ onetime protege’ who is on the verge of breaking his mentor’s record of 48 Derby starters, said: “The Derby is always better when Wayne’s in it.”

Lukas always believed he’d back in the Derby and said his gut feeling that some horses under his watch were not Derby-ready led him to be a race spectator. Although Bravazo ran eighth in the Louisiana Derby and is among four 50-1 longshots in Saturday’s 20-horse Kentucky Derby field , the trainer views the colt’s two wins before the Louisiana Derby as proof of his worthiness.

Lukas is also motivated to give Calumet Farm its record ninth Derby winner and first since Forward Pass was awarded the win 50 years ago after Dancer’s Image was disqualified for a failed postrace drug test.

While Lukas noted that owners determine whether to run a horse, his experience and success carries weight in some decisions. History clearly seems to have factored in Bravazo’s case, which is fitting for Calumet and Lukas since both have made their share of it in the Derby.

“You’ve got Calumet Farm, and it would be something to put them back out,” Lukas added.

The pairing of trainer and farm appears tailor made, but Lukas has maintained a physical and sentimental presence at Churchill Downs regardless of his participation in the marquee race.

Lukas’ barn is just off the second turn entering the track’s backstretch is a required stop for horsemen, jockeys, media and spectators. The time away has fueled a give-back philosophy that has the octogenarian chatting up folks who drop by, and standing outside observing how the sport he loves hums along.

Looking in on the Derby from outside allowed him to appreciate the race and evaluate the horses he hoped would put him back in the field. He has also enjoyed watching fellow trainers endure the same trial and error with pupils, as he did decades ago and now.

Excited as Lukas is to be back with Bravazo, he is even more encouraged about the 2-year-old prospects he has coming up. The end of his career doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon as the trainer in the wide-brimmed cowboy hat seems determined to remain a Derby fixture.

Mindful of his age, Lukas said the caveat is how long he will be physically able to do the job. To see him atop his horse watching his latest Derby charge at work leaves no doubt about his energy or desire.

“You feel like you’re blessed to have a career and nobody else is at that age to say that they’re here,” Lukas said. “You reflect and say maybe if it’s not this year, maybe next year, but there no guarantees there will be a next year.

“You reach out and take advantage of the whole thing if you’re enjoying it that much.”