Jockey Calvin Borel boldly said after winning the Kentucky Derby that he would ride Super Saver to a Triple Crown, and he’ll take the next step to fulfilling that this weekend at the Preakness Stakes. NBC has complete coverage of the event on Saturday, May 15 at4:30pm ET. Below is the release from NBC, detailing its broadcast and including analysts’ picks and predictions:
SUPER SAVER AND JOCKEY CALVIN BOREL HEADLINE FIELD IN PREAKNESS STAKES, SATURDAY 4:30 PM ET ON NBC
1. Super Saver, 2. Lookin at Lucky, 3. First Dude – NBC’s Battaglia’s Preakness Picks
“It wouldn’t surprise me one iota if he turned the tables on Super Saver on Saturday.” – NBC’s Neumeier on Lookin at Lucky
NEW YORK – May 13, 2010 – Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver with jockey Calvin Borel, who told NBC Sports reporter Donna Brothers following his Derby win that he was going to win the Triple Crown, leads the field as NBC Sports presents exclusive coverage of the 135th running of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., beginning Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET, live in high definition.
Borel, whose win at the Derby was his third in four years, returns to Pimlico where he won the Preakness Stakes last year aboard super filly Rachel Alexandra. Super Saver, who will break from the No. 8 post, will get his main competition from his next door neighbor in the starting gate, Lookin at Lucky (No. 7 post) who is trained by Bob Baffert. With a win Saturday at the Preakness, Super Saver and Borel will look to become the first to win the Triple Crown since Affirmed, with jockey Steve Cauthen, in 1978.
RACE COVERAGE: NBC Sports coverage of the 135th Preakness Stakes is co-hosted by Bob Costas and Tom Hammond alongside two-time Preakness winner Gary Stevens. NBC Sports’ broadcast team also includes race-caller Tom Durkin; contributing analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; reporter Kenny Rice and on-track reporter Donna Brothers. The Preakness Stakes on NBC is produced by Sam Flood and directed by David Michaels.
NBC SPORTS FEATURE ON BOREL AND SUPER SAVER: For the second straight year, NBC Sports Preakness Stakes broadcast will feature the story of the Kentucky Derby winner. Last year’s feature on Mine That Bird, produced by Emmy Award-winning producers Rob Hyland and Jack Felling, won the prestigious Eclipse Award for best television feature.
During its Preakness Stakes coverage on Saturday, NBC Sports will tell the story of Kentucky Derby winning horse Super Saver, with jockey Calvin Borel, surging to victory in the 136th Kentucky Derby. With the win, Borel won his record third Derby in four years; while trainer Todd Pletcher and owners WinStar Farm realized their first Derby win. The feature will explore the story of the three year old colt, Super Saver, and its connections – from jockey Calvin Borel’s trajectory in the sport and prowess at Churchill Downs to trainer Todd Pletcher’s first Derby win after 24 previous starters. And, as the Preakness approaches, Team Super Saver aims to realize Borel’s promise to win America’s coveted Triple Crown.
NBC Sports handicappers Neumeier and Battaglia provided their thoughts on the Preakness in separate interviews and surprisingly came to similar conclusions about the race. Their answers are below:
THE PREAKNESS ACCORDING TO NEUMEIER: “The Preakness Stakes is so much different than what we saw two weeks ago at the Derby. In the Kentucky Derby, the front-runners went out very, very, very fast and we won’t see this kind of pace in the Preakness, which changes the entire complexity of the race. Super Saver was sixth or seventh in the early stages of the Derby. He may well be on the lead in the Preakness which is fine for Borel and Todd Pletcher because there doesn’t seem to be the kind of front-running speed that we saw at the Derby. It actually gives Super Saver an advantage. Assuming he breaks properly he will either have perfect position or he will be on the lead and won’t be rushed. So this pace will suit him well and I give him a reasonable chance to win on Saturday though he has only won one race this year and I don’t think he’s a super horse.”
THE PREAKNESS ACCORDING BATTAGLIA: “Super Saver and Lookin at Lucky both got good draws in the No. 7 and No. 8 slots. There is definitely not as much early speed as there was in the Derby so I would expect Borel to send Super Saver from the No. 8 post. I think he will be much closer to, if not on the lead. I also think that Martin Garcia would want to get Lookin at Lucky in the race a little earlier also. He has shown some decent early speed in the past and he will definitely be a factor.”
BATTAGLIA ON THE “NEW SHOOTERS”: “I kind of like First Dude in the race as a long shot from the No. 11 post. He has some tactical speed.”
NEUMEIER ON THE “NEW SHOOTERS”: “Of the new shooters that I would favor, First Dude would be my top pick. I would put Schoolyard Dreams on my list too. He beat Super Saver at the Tampa Bay Derby and he’s from the same connections that brought us Musket Man, who performed well in both the Derby and the Preakness last year.”
NEUMEIER ON WHO CHALLENGES SUPER SAVER: “His main competition will come from Lookin at Lucky. You have to draw a line through his last race (the Derby) because he was bothered and bumped and clanked and blocked. He’s a horse that has been in trouble in four of the last five races but he may benefit from a jockey switch. Matt Garcia, the new jockey, and Bob Baffert have had success together and, should he get a free run and not get into the kind of trouble that this horse has unfortunately been involved in – he’s been anything but lucky, I give him a chance. He’s clearly the second best horse in the race and it wouldn’t surprise me one iota if he turned the tables on Super Saver on Saturday.
BATTAGLIA ON PLETCHER SADDLING A SECOND HORSE IN THE PREAKNESS: “It’s unusual that the trainer of the Derby winner starts another horse in the Preakness. The only one I can find that has ever done it is Lukas and, of course, Pletcher is Lukas’ protégé. Lukas did it twice. One year, he won the Preakness with Derby winner Charismatic but the other year, with Thunder Gulch, Lukas beat the Derby winner with Timber Country. Aikenite might get a good trip with Castellano from the rail.
BATTAGLIA’S PREAKNESS PICKS:
1. Super Saver
2. Lookin at Lucky
3. First Dude
CAN SUPER SAVER WIN THE TRIPLE CROWN?
BATTAGLIA: “I think he can win the Preakness but the Belmont is a whole other cup of tea. If he wins the Preakness then he’s got Nick Zito sitting there waiting with Ice Box (for the Belmont). If you look at that race, Ice Box may have been best at the Derby.”
NEUMEIER: “I’d be surprised if Super Saver can win the Triple Crown even if he wins the Preakness.”
PREAKNESS A RATINGS SUCCESS ON NBC:
NBC Sports coverage of the Preakness Stakes now reaches five million more viewers (nearly double) than the last Preakness Stakes broadcast by ABC in 2000 (10.9 million vs.5.5 million, up 98 percent).
In fact, EVERY Preakness on NBC over the past nine years had more viewers than ANY Preakness on ABC over the previous eight years.
Link to the past nine years of the Preakness Stakes on NBC Sports: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/24467851#24467851
PREAKNESS ON NBC (2001-2009)
2009 10.9 million
2008 7.9 million
2007 8.4 million
2006 10.1 million
2005 9.3 million
2004 11.6 million
2003 8.6 million
2002 9.2 million
2001 8.7 million
PREAKNESS ON ABC (1993-2000)
2000 5.5 million
1999 4.9 million
1998 5.2 million
1997 6.9 million
1996 5.1 million
1995 4.7 million
1994 6.5 million
1993 7.0 million
KENTUCKY DERBY HAS MOST VIEWERS IN 21 YEARS: NBC Sports’ coverage of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby was the most viewed Kentucky Derby in 21 years according to data provided by The Nielsen Company. The race averaged 16.5 million viewers, topping last year’s 16.3 million and two million more than the 14.2 million in 2008. Saturday’s race was the most watched Kentucky Derby since 1989 when Sunday Silence won the Derby (18.5 million).
NBC Sports coverage of the Kentucky Derby now reaches more than seven million more viewers than the last Kentucky Derby broadcast by ABC in 2000 (16.5 million vs.9.1 million, up 51 percent).
Link to NBC Sports’ coverage of the Kentucky Derby and hear Tom Durkin call the race: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/36891056#36891056
NBC SPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON QUICK PICK: NBC Sports Championship Season Quick Picks is a new contest where you get to try your hand at predicting the outcome in events like the Preakness and U.S. Open. Before each event of NBC Sports Championship Season, fans are able to answer up to 5 questions about the event. For each question answered correctly, you earn an entry into that event’s prize drawing, where the winner receives an Apple iPad. At the end of Championship Season, all the correct entries will be eligible for the grand prize: a trip to the 2011 US Open. Visit ChampSeason.nbcsports.com to enter.
SEE THE PREAKNESS ON YOUR MOBILE PHONE: Users on the go can watch the Preakness Stakes live on their mobile phones exclusively through NBC Sports Mobile and NBC 2Go. Plus, fans can watch exclusive video and race highlights on NBC Sports Mobile (m.nbcsports.com).