Yahoo! Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo! every day. Learn more »Yahoo! Contributor Network
Top 10 2012 TV Horse Racing Dates
Are you excited about horse racing this year and want to make sure to watch all of the major events? There has been some shuffling in the sports broadcasting world for the start of the 2012 season. For this reason, it pays to know when and where the important races will be shown.
Which horse races are the most important?
Horse racing in the United States has three premiere events in the spring and then two other primary races in the fall. To clarify, the Breeder's Cup is the final top horse race of the season and is preceded by the Jockey Club Gold Cup. The events leading up to the Jockey Club Gold Cup are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes (these three races are also called the "Triple Crown").
Any horse that wins the Jockey Club Gold Cup automatically qualifies for the Breeder's Cup and this means it is emphasized by fans. The Breeder's Cup finalizes the champions of the season and horse tracks shut down for the winter shortly thereafter. However, during the spring, there are 40 major prep races for the Kentucky Derby. Out of this large group, there are several that you will not want to miss.
Five spring horse races to watch
When nominations roll into the Kentucky Derby headquarters in January of each year, there are usually between 350 to 400 nominees. After sorting, this list is reduced to 20. However, the big question is—which horse races do these nominations come from?
Although there is some debate, the major prep races that lead up to Kentucky Derby runners usually give one million dollars or more to the winning horse. In fact, there is always a debate among handicappers of horse racing about which prep races you should watch from late March until mid-April.
As a local fan of Churchill Downs, I have noticed that this list of important prep races varies over the years based on three main factors. Those defining points are; how close the prep race is to the time of the Derby, how much the grand prize is for winning the event, and how many of those prep races have produced Kentucky Derby winners over the years.
Important Kentucky Derby prep races
By using the information that KentuckyDerby.com gives us, we can learn about the 40 prep races. Regardless, do not focus on certain races because they are held immediately before the Kentucky Derby. For example, on April 28, 2012, there is a race held at Churchill Downs called The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial. In this case, the Churchill Downs website points out that this is now considered a prep race for the Preakness and not the Kentucky Derby.
Major prep races occurring between March 24 and April 14, 2012 include the twenty million Dubai World Cup and million dollar races like the Florida Derby, Santa Anita, Wood Memorial, Louisiana Derby, and Arkansas Derby. For 2012, most of these classic prep races will be covered by an NBC affiliate.
NBC covers most major 2012 horse races
This year, NBC is focused on the Kentucky Derby and will be airing every weekend for four weekends leading up to the Kentucky Derby broadcast on May 5, 2012. NBC is adding to the ones-to-watch list with the Wood Memorial, Arkansas Derby, Florida Derby, Blue Grass Stakes, and Santa Anita Derby.
NBC will not be broadcasting other favorites from the million dollar purse prep race list like the Louisiana Derby or the UAE Derby. Instead, they will show the Spiral Stakes from Turfway Park and the Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland.
Viewers guide to major 2012 televised horse racing events
When it comes to broadcasting events, the major television networks associated with the 2012 horse racing premiere events include NBC, ESPN, CNBC, the NBC Sports Network, and HRTV.
Although some racetracks are helpful with listing these races, some information is not listed at this time. One of the main reasons for this is due to the fluctuating start time for races. Depending on the weather, most premiere horse racing events start between 10 AM to 7 PM.
Since, broadcasting contracts are not always confirmed in advance, some races may not be announced until close to the date of the race.
1. March 24 on NBC - Spiral Stakes
2. March 31 on NBC Sports Network - Florida Derby will be held on this day in addition to the Dubai World Cup at the Meydan Racetrack. Currently the Dubai World Cup does not have an official American broadcast for the 2012 race.
3. April 1 - The Louisiana Derby currently has no announcement about where the race will be broadcast. Check HRTV around the time of this race to see if they will cover it.
4. April 7 on NBC - Wood Memorial and the Santa Anita Derby
5. April 14 on CNBC - Blue Grass Stakes and the Arkansas Derby
6. May 5 on many different networks - The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs will not have a single channel to tune into this event. Instead, KentuckyDerby.com lists an extensive television schedule for the event.
7. May 19 on an NBC station - Preakness Stakes.
8. June 9 on an NBC station - Belmont Stakes.
9. October 6 - Jockey Club Gold Cup schedule and broadcasting station are still to be announced. Last year, it was shown on HRTV/TVG. However, coverage by NBC's "Road to the Derby" was developed by the Jockey Club. For this reason, it is possible that NBC will cover the Jockey Club Gold Cup in 2012.
10. November 2-3 on ESPN - 2012 Breeders' Cup World Championships, Santa Anita.
Maryam Louise is a longtime resident of the Bluegrass State and has lived in the shadows of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two decades. In addition to being a fan of horse racing, she has also had a chance to get to know jockeys, horse groomers, and betting clerks as an ESL instructor. Currently, she writes for KentuckyDerby.org and relies on her friends in the multiple facets of the equine industry for writing inspiration.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.