This afternoon thousands of dapper people will file into Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. They will sip mint juleps, wear funny hats and make “trifecta” wagers after pretending to read the book on handicapping.
Yes, the Kentucky Derby is here, and NBC, which paid good money for the TV rights, is planning wide-ranging coverage, including contributions from NBC News and The Weather Channel.
Al Roker was at Churchill Friday for a “Today” segment, as well as “Wake Up with Al” on Weather Channel. His colleague Stephanie Abrams will continue coverage on Weather Saturday morning. “Today” correspondent Dylan Dreyer will report from the hallowed grounds on Saturday and Sunday, previewing and recapping the event, respectively. Brian Schachtman, CNBC’s sports business reporter, filed reports from Churchill Friday, and will continue all day today.
E! news is also planning coverage. The fancy hats may cover people’s heads, but they won;t cover themselves, you know.
Bob Costas will lead the coverage, along with:
NBC Sports commentator Tom Hammond; analysts Randy Moss and Hall-of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey; analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; NBC Sports Network host Laffit Pincay, III; reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Jay Privman; and race caller Larry Collmus. Michelle Beadle of Access Hollywood and co-host of The Crossover on NBC Sports Network, will provide features and interviews, and Coco Rocha, supermodel coach on Oxygen’s The Face, will talk Kentucky Derby fashions.
NBC also has TV rights to the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, and the Belmont Stakes in fabulous Queens, New York.