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The NBC Sports Group will broadcast all three legs of horse racing’s prestigious Triple Crown, renewing the rights to the Preakness Stakes and reacquiring rights to the Belmont Stakes. As previously announced, NBC and Churchill Downs, Inc. renewed rights to the Kentucky Derby. This marks the first time that all three races will be on one network since NBC aired them in 2005. The agreements were announced today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Sports Group, Tom Chuckas, President and Chief Operating Office, Maryland Jockey Club, and C. Steven Duncker, NYRA Chairman.
The even-money favorite in the January 17 Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn, Robert Yagos' ARCHARCHARCH (Arch) took the unusual strategy of dueling for the lead before wilting to fourth, 13 1/4 lengths behind, in that one-mile contest.
Daily Racing Form reports that impressive Holy Bull S. (G3) winner DIALED IN (Mineshaft) will pass on Saturday's Fountain of Youth S. (G2), with trainer Nick Zito preferring to give the Kentucky Derby (G1) contender more time before his next start.
Zito will instead find another two-turn race for the unbeaten colt, who will still make the April 3 Florida Derby (G1) his final prep for the May 7 Run for the Roses.
In other Derby news on Monday:
Fog City Stable and George Bolton's THE FACTOR (War Front) ran to his status as the 4-5 favorite in Sunday's $150,000 San Vicente S. (G2) at Santa Anita, posting a three-quarter length victory on the wire for trainer Bob Baffert.
The three-year-old colt declared his candidacy for the Kentucky Derby (G1) when finishing up the seven-furlong test in 1:20 1/5 in just his third career start.
Trainer Kathy Ritvo was ebullient during training hours Sunday morning at Fair Grounds, and with good reason. That's because late Saturday afternoon her sophomore colt MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno), owned by a multiple partnership of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Dream Team One Racing, had established himself as a legitimate candidate for the Kentucky Derby (G1) 11 weeks away by winning the Risen Star S. (G2) at Fair Grounds.
Rather than staying home at Gulfstream Park to face the impressive To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) for a third time in next Saturday's Fountain of Youth S. (G2), trainer Kathy Ritvo decided to ship MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno) to Fair Grounds for the $300,000 Risen Star S. (G2).
Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables' KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat) was touted as the filly to beat in Saturday's $147,000 Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) at Fair Grounds, and didn't disappoint her numerous backers when pulling off the 1 1/4-length victory under jockey Julien Leparoux.
The last time J P'S GUSTO (Successful Appeal) attempted dirt, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs in November, the Grade 1-winning ridgling finished more than 15 lengths behind divisional leader Uncle Mo. Needless to say, the connections of the Del Mar Futurity (G1) hero hope for better in Monday's $250,000 Southwest S. (G3), the first in Oaklawn Park's triumvirate of graded preps leading up to the Kentucky Derby (G1).