By Gene Kershner
Once again, the Buffalo television market has shown it is a racing hotbed as the television ratings for the Preakness by city were recently released by NBC Sports. The overall ratings were down 8% from last year (6.0) and down 14% from 2010 (6.4). The 5.5 overnight rating was the lowest for the event since at least 2000.
This marks the third straight year, and the seventh time in eight years, that overnight ratings have dropped for the Preakness. The Derby was the third-most viewed since 1990 drawing over 14.8 million viewers.
The Buffalo market ranked fourth in the Kentucky Derby rankings and slipped down one spot to fifth in the Preakness final figures. Buffalo had a 13.4 rating and a 27 share for the Kentucky Derby.
The top 10 markets by city, showing rank, rating and share for the 2012 Preakness are as follows:
1. Baltimore, 16.5/36
2. Louisville, 13.1/25
3. Ft. Myers, 10.1/20
4. West Palm Beach, 9.2/18
5. Buffalo, 8.8/20
6. Richmond, 8.1/17
7. New Orleans, 7.9/13
8. Hartford, 7.8/18
9. Nashville, 7.6/15
10. Orlando, 7.2/16
Source: NBC Sports via Sports Media Watch
With a Triple Crown at stake the Belmont Stakes and NBC should be looking at some very positive numbers. The last two Triple Crown efforts by Big Brown (2008) and Smarty Jones (2004) achieved 10.5 and 13.1 ratings, respectively. A non-Triple Crown broadcast usually is in the 3-4 range.
* Godolphin Racing’s Alpha spiked a fever on Tuesday afternoon and will miss the Belmont Stakes trainer Kiaran McLaughlin reported earlier this week.
* The New York State Racing and Wagering Board (NYSRWB) this week put forth various security protocols for horses running in the June 9 Belmont Stakes. All horses entered in the Belmont will be required to be stalled in a secured area known as the stakes barn. In addition, all horses running in the Belmont Stakes, upon arrival at the stakes barn on June 6, will be required to have an out-of-competition blood test, which will be sent to the NYSRWB’s Drug Lab that evening for immediate review.
* Earlier this week, trainer Manny Azpurua confirmed that Ravelo’s Boy, who worked seven furlongs in 1:28.29 at Calder on Sunday, will enter the Belmont Stakes.
* The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame announced two candidates have been elected into the Hall of Fame through the Museum’s Historic Review process. Anthony Hamilton, one of the finest jockeys of the 19th century, and Planet, a dominant racehorse in the years leading up to the Civil War will be inducted into the Hall on Aug. 10. Those two will join contemporary selections jockey John Velazquez, the racehorse Ghostzapper, and trainers Roger Attfield and Robert Wheeler at the induction ceremony.