NBC Sports Group has announced two prestigious additions to its 2017 live broadcast schedule for Thoroughbred racing: the Dubai World Cup on March 25 and the Epsom Derby on June 3. The announcement comes following last week’s news that reigning Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational winner Arrogate is scheduled to contest the $10 million Dubai World Cup for owner Juddmonte Farms and trainer Bob Baffert.
NBC’s addition of the Dubai World Cup and the Epsom Derby, England’s equivalent to the Kentucky Derby, to its 2017 schedule further strengthens its international coverage of Thoroughbred racing’s biggest races. This year also marks NBC’s debut coverage of the Royal Ascot meeting, England’s premier horse racing event, in late June. With these added races, NBC will present live horse racing for 10 of 12 months in 2017.
“We are excited to bring to the U.S. audience live coverage of international events that the millions of Americans who enjoy our Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup telecasts will be sure to enjoy,” said NBC Sports and NBCSN President of Programming Jon Miller.
Both races will be broadcast live on NBCSN. The Dubai World Cup coverage will air from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET, and the Epsom Derby coverage will air from 10 a.m. to noon ET. In addition to the Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline, NBCSN's coverage will include broadcasts of the Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News, the Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World, and the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic. The broadcast will also feature opening and closing ceremonies for the Dubai Carnival and the World Cup trophy presentation.
The Dubai World Cup is held at Meydan Racecourse, and the 1 ¼-mile race held the distinction of being the richest race in the world until the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational was held at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28. Hall of Famer Cigar won the inaugural Dubai World Cup in 1996, and other notable winners include Silver Charm, Street Cry, Roses in May, Invasor, Curlin, Animal Kingdom, and last year’s winner California Chrome.
If Arrogate wins the March 25 World Cup and adds $6 million to his career earnings, he will become the leading moneywinner of all time among North American-based horses, surpassing California Chrome. The champion prepared for his planned trip overseas with a seven-furlong workout in 1:24 at Santa Anita Park on March 5.
The Investec Epsom Derby is the second leg of the English Triple Crown for 3-year-olds, following the Qipco 2,000 Guineas on May 6 at Newmarket and ahead of the St. Leger Stakes on Sept. 16 at Doncaster. Held at Epsom Downs in Surrey, south of London, it is run at the English classic distance of about 1 ½ miles on turf and offers a purse of 1.5 million pounds (about $1.85 million). The Epsom Derby dates to 1780 and has been won by some of the best and most influential Thoroughbreds in history. Recent winners from this century include Galileo, High Chaparral, Authorized, Sea the Stars, and Golden Horn. In 2102, Camelot became the first horse since Nijinksy II in 1970 to contest the English Triple Crown, winning both the 2,000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, but finishing second in the St. Leger.
NBC’s U.S. horse racing live broadcast schedule is highlighted by its extensive coverage of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (May 6), Preakness Stakes (May 20) and Belmont Stakes (June 10) in the spring, and its broadcast of the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Del Mar on Nov. 3-4 this fall.