TV schedule of coverage for Kentucky Derby is over 27 hours

Bill and Sandy Boland at the 'Gallop to Glory'

Nowadays, we take TV coverage of the Kentucky Derby for granted.  Up until 1950, people listened to the Kentucky Derby on radio, saw it on Movietone News at the movies, or read about it the next day in the newspapers.

While not many homes had television sets in 1950, NBC affiliate WAVE-TV in Louisville, Ky., provided the first television coverage of the Kentucky Derby.  Those lucky enough to own a TV set watched Middleground with William ’Bill’ Boland on board win the 1950 Kentucky Derby with Hill Prince second.  Imagine seeing the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on television when you had only heard previous Kentucky Derbys on radio.

This year, the NBC Sports Group will offer nearly 15 hours of coverage around the Kentucky Derby, beginning with the Derby draw May 2 at 4 p.m. ET and horse racing fans are excited.

Derby Day on May 5 will feature more than eight hours of coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus.

Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who had worked for ABC/ESPN when those networks were involved in Thoroughbred coverage, will join the NBC team on Derby Day. Bailey, who won two Kentucky Derbys, will team up with fellow Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, who accounted for three Derby victories.

With the May 19 Preakness Stakes and the June 9 Belmont Stakes also on the NBC family of networks, the NBC Sports Group will account for a total of 27 ½ hours of Triple Crown coverage.

The Derby will also be streamed live on and feature four camera angles unique to the online presentation. Bailey will answer fans’ questions and offer analysis.

On a side note – Kentucky Derby Tours was fortunate to have William Bill’ Boland and his wife Sandy on our trip in 2007.  Derby week Bill Boland and Ray York (Kentucky Derby winning jockey in 1954) added their handprints in the ‘Gallop to Glory’ exhibit at the Galt House Hotel.