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Around the Backstretch

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Am I really going to be subjected to an hour of this on Derby day?  Really, NBC? Can we at least see the undercard races going on in the background?  (Photo by Jeff Gentner/Getty Images)
Am I really going to be subjected to an hour of this on Derby day? Really, NBC? Can we at least see the undercard races going on in the background? (Photo by Jeff Gentner/Getty Images)

I've been dealing with a sick member of the family the last day (my six month old puppy), so no Keeneland preview this morning as last night I didn't get around to handicapping the card.  I will, however, have a couple more contender profiles this afternoon (Line of David and Eskendereya)

If you are curious about Oaks and Derby TV coverage, below is all the pertinent information:

Friday, April 30th

-Kentucky Oaks Undercard
11:00 - 5:00 EDT, HRTV

-Grade I Kentucky Oaks
5:00 - 6:00 EDT, Bravo

Saturday, May 1st

-Kentucky Derby Undercard
11:00 - 4:00 EDT, ESPN & HRTV

-Kentucky Derby Red Carpet Special
4:00 - 5:00 EDT, NBC

This is something that I hate with the passion of a thousand suns.  You want to know why?  Because during this hour that NBC has "exclusive" coverage and broadcast rights, Churchill Downs will run the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic...which they won't show us.  Instead we will get interviews with Kid Rock, Nick Lachey, and Kim Kardashian.  If I wanted to watch that crap, I'd watch E!. 

It's the Derby, if you're going to show something, show me horses, people drinking inordinate amounts of bourbon, and chicks with big hats.  (Okay, okay, the Red Carpet Special will show chicks with big hats.  I suppose I should say "show me regular chicks with big hats not celebrities that show up just to get their picture taken.") I don't care that Ben Affleck is going to put a $5,000 Show bet on the favorite.  Okay?  I'm a degenerate...give me paddock shots, trainer interviews, updated odds information (including exotics) and the post parade. 

Thank goodness for on-line trackside video streaming.

-Kentucky Derby 136
5:00 - 7:00 EDT, NBC

Some additional news and notes on this Wednesday:

  • If you ever watched the show Jockeys on Animal Planet a few years ago, you know that Jon Court has been waiting a long time to ride in his first Kentucky Derby.  It looked like the tide had finally turned for Jon when he won the Blue Grass on Line of David Stately Victor, earning that colt enough money to guarantee a spot in this year's field.  Yesterday, the connections of Line of David Stately Victor announced that Rafael Bejarano would replace Court for the Derby.  That's an unfortunate aspect of the life of a jockey and I don't begrudge Line of David's Stately Victor's connections for making the switch, but you can't help but feel bad for Jon Court. (I guess I had Line of David on my mind when I wrote that this morning.)
  • The opening of the meets at Calder and Arlington brings about some nice changes at both of those tracks: HD simulcasting of all races.  If you've watched any video streaming of the tracks that have HD you'll agree that it makes a world of difference.
  • Hollywood Park opens for their spring/summer meet this afternoon.  
  • Classic season is about to get underway in Europe, where the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas will run on May 1st and 2nd at Newmarket Racecourse in England.  Usually TVG or HRTV provides live coverage of this event but I have yet to read any news about this year's races.