Derby a winner for NBC

Horse racing telecast ties 2001 and 2002, beats 2003

NBC Sports continued its strong run with horse racing’s Triple Crown events Saturday, as the Kentucky Derby matched the event’s best ratings result in 12 years.

Smarty Jones’ victory generated an 8.3 overnight rating/18 share from 5-6:45 p.m. ET, according to Nielsen in-home viewing estimates. That ties the NBC deliveries for the 2001 and 2002 Derby telecasts. No Kentucky Derby has rated higher since the 1992 race netted a 9.5/26 on ABC.

In the half-hour that included the race (6-6:30 p.m. ET), NBC generated a big 11.9/25 in the overnights, 20% higher than last year’s 9.9/22 for Funny Cide’s victory.

Top local-market scores for the 130th running of the Derby included Louisville, Ky. (36.9/63), Cincinnati (16.7/36) and Oklahoma City (12.1/21), according to Nielsen.

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