By Gene Kershner
The 2012 Kentucky Derby television ratings showed that overall viewership was up by 2 percent from last year’s ratings by drawing close to 14.8 million viewers. The Buffalo market was admirably represented as the No. 4 market nationally with a 13.4 rating and a 26 share nationally.
Trailing only Louisville, nearby Cincinnati and Fort Myers in the national ratings, Buffalo proved that it has its share of horse racing fanatics and horseplayers who tune in for the big event. In the past, Buffalo has always proved to be a tremendous racing market showing up in the top ten for Triple Crown races over the past decade. This Saturday’s results however were the highest that our fair city has climbed in recent memory.
While I was at the Derby this weekend, I received numerous emails and text messages telling me that the local Western New York OTB’s were packed to the gills, lines were long and betting on the Derby was in high gear.
I received an email from the vice president in charge of Breeders’ Cup media alerting me to the numbers and he was very impressed with Buffalo’s showing in the ratings. Below are the ratings by city for this year’s Derby:
Top metered markets for 2012 Kentucky Derby (Rank City Rating/share)
1. Louisville 31.7/59 2. Cincinnati 18.3/37 3. Ft. Myers 17.0/31 T4. Buffalo 13.4/27 T4. Hartford 13.4/26 T4. West Palm Beach 13.4/24 7. Columbus 13.3/27 8. Knoxville 13.0/24 9. St. Louis 13.1/28 10. Boston 12.8/31 11. Indianapolis 12.2/25 12. Tampa 12.1/26 13. Orlando 11.7/26 14. Baltimore 11.1/24 15. Richmond 11.0/21 T16. Pittsburgh 10.9/25 T16. Greensboro 10.9/21 18. Milwaukee 10.7/22 T19. New York 10.4/23 T19. Nashville 10.4/20 T19. Providence 10.4/21 T19. Dayton 10.4/21
Source: Thoroughbred Times
It’s impressive that we ranked higher than cities such as Baltimore (holds next weekend’s Preakness and the second jewel), New York (holds the final jewel, the Belmont Stakes), and cities with prominent tracks like Los Angeles (Santa Anita, Hollywood Park), Chicago (Arlington, Hawthorne) and Miami (Gulfstream, Calder) don’t even show up on the ratings listing. It goes to show that Buffalo loves its horse racing,
- The Lumber Guy (4-1), decided to pass on the Preakness and will run in the Grade 2 Peter Pan Stakes, a prep race for the Belmont Stakes, instead. He will take on Mark Valeski (5-2), who passed on the Derby to run in the Peter Pan, in a highly competitive race that has drawn 12 colts that will travel 1 1/8-miles over Big Sandy at Belmont Park.
- I’ll Have Another shipped directly from the Derby to Pimlico Race Course the day after the Derby. After three days of walking on the track, he took his first spin around the Baltimore oval. “He got over the ground really well, his ears were pricked and he was full of energy,” assistant trainer Doug Sisterson said. The O’Neill team felt that its colt had come out of the Derby in terrific shape and has been watching him for any signs of fatigue. He passed another test Wednesday. “His energy level is fantastic, something that we want to see his first time back on the track,” Sisterson said. “You wouldn’t want to see him with his head down going along there.”
- Bodemeister and Liaison worked out at Churchill Downs on Wednesday and await the arrival of trainer Bob Baffert over the weekend wherein he will make a decision whether to send either or both to Baltimore for the Preakness.
- The $300,000 Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and $300,000 Grade 3 Pimlico Special will headline the May 18 (Friday) card that features six other stakes races. Twenty-nine three-year-old fillies were nominated to the Black-Eyed Susan, including likely favorite Mamma Kimbo. Thirty-four runners were nominated to the Pimlico Special, including expected starters Alternation, Cease, Eighttofasttocatch, Toby’s Corner and Yawanna Twist.
Gene Kershner is a Buffalo-based turf writer and handicapper who blogs at equispace.blogspot.com and tweets @EquiSpace.