NBC Celebrates 30th Running of Breeders’ Cup Classic
With 14 races and more than 9½ hours of Breeders’ Cup coverage over two days, NBC Sports Group continues to cement its status as a destination for horseracing aficionados and casual fans alike. This year marks the 30th running of the Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be broadcast live from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, CA, in primetime on Saturday Nov. 2.
“As someone who’s covered seven Olympics, this event is the Olympics of horseracing,” says Rob Hyland, producer of NBC’s Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown coverage. “The best of the best from around the world of racing are competing at various distances, different age divisions, both on grass and dirt. And there’s something for everyone. We’re really excited to showcase this great event.”
Live NBC Sports Group coverage of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships begins on Friday Nov. 1 from 4 to 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, continues on Saturday Nov. 2 from 3:30 to 8 p.m. on NBCSN, and culminates with the live primetime broadcast of the Breeders’ Cup Classic Saturday from 8 to 9 p.m. on NBC. All 14 Breeders’ Cup races will be televised live by NBC and NBCSN.
Last year, when the Breeders’ Cup returned to NBC after a brief hiatus, the network — for the first time — deployed a gyro-stabilized camera in an SUV that drove along an inner track, following the horses.
“It worked out very, very well,” says Hyland. “In fact, it will be back again, and I wish that we could have it on every major race. Obviously, Santa Anita affords us the opportunity to use it because there is what is called an ‘inner working track,’ where the vehicle can drive. The classic racetracks do not have that inner working track with the exception of the Belmont.
“We plan on utilizing it throughout all 14 races,” he continues. “It is a great shot. It shows the speed and intensity of the race.”
In total, NBC will use more than 30 cameras to cover Santa Anita’s 100 acres, including several ultra-slow-motion and super-slow-motion cameras. The broadcast will also include Go Pro footage from jockeys riding the various courses throughout the week.
Tom Hammond will host NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the Breeders’ Cup, joined by Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, veteran horseracing analyst Randy Moss, contributing analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier, host/reporter Laffit Pincay III, and reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers, Jay Privman, and Nick Luck. NBC’s Triple Crown race caller Larry Collmus will call all of the Breeders’ Cup races.
Hammond, whose first-ever assignment for NBC was as a reporter on the network’s inaugural Breeders’ Cup broadcast in 1984, reflects on the 30th anniversary of the storied event.
“This is a special event,” he says. “It takes a lot of analysis and a lot of looking into what has happened, because there are so many great races that unfold. And now, of course, we’ve gone up to 14 of them, so advanced in that regard as well, over two days.
“So a lot of changes in the 30 years,” he continues, “but one thing has remained the same, and that is it is a first-class championship event and always has been.”