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Post Time: Buffalo market solid in Preakness TV ratings

By Gene Kershner

The Preakness drew 9.7 million viewers to its broadcast on NBC last weekend. This represented an increase of 20 percent over last year's viewership (8.1 million). Once again, the Buffalo television market has shown it holds up as a racing hotbed as the television ratings for the Preakness by city  were recently released by the NBC Sports Group. The overnight ratings of 5.9 were up 13 percent over last year's Preakness that had a 5.5 rating, the lowest since 2000.  

The Buffalo market ranked sixth in the Kentucky Derby rankings and slipped down four spots to in the Preakness final figures. Buffalo had a 15.9 rating and a 33 share for the Kentucky Derby. Last year, Buffalo had a 8.8 rating for the Preakness and a 20 share. It's nice being on the Top 10 list of something other than snowfall…here's a look at the Top 10 metered markets for this year's Preakness:

TOP METERED MARKETS FOR
2013 PREAKNESS STAKES (Race Portion)

1.

Baltimore

15.7/32

2.

Louisville

15.0/27

3.

Oklahoma City

11.2/20

4.

Knoxville

11.1/20

5.

Ft. Myers

10.6/20

6.

West Palm Beach

10.2/20

7.

Cincinnati

 9.1/18

8.

Greensboro

 9.0/17

9.

Washington D.C.

 8.9/21

10.

Buffalo

 8.6/20

Source: NBC Sports Group

Without a Triple Crown at stake, the Belmont Stakes and NBC will likely be looking at a decline in 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.  

Preakness Afterthoughts  

  • Sometimes I should take my own advice. In my Degrees of Separation post prior to the Derby I  separated the 20 Derby contenders into my own "divisions." Oxbow fell into the "Afleet Alex" division - defined as horses that won't win the Derby, but will have to be respected and could hit the board. Those qualifying here have the potential to become a Classic winner down the road in either the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes. My comment line on Oxbow - "Still waiting for this one to show up. Thinking it may be in the Belmont where he may savor the Test of a Champion."
  • I watched the race from the trackside winners' circle and in the Making Up Excuses portion of today's post, I saw Govenor Charlie's handlers struggling to reattach his bridle on his way to the track. This was obviously upsetting the horse and the expletives being shouted between the groom and assistant trainer signaled to me, the timing of this wasn't good. It took a good 45 seconds to get the bridle on and the horse was clearly agitated. I could have ripped up my tickets right then and there.
  • As for Goldencents, he was right where I thought he would be at the start, but I expected him to continue to fully challenge the leader(s) in the early stages of the race. Sometimes you just have to let the horse run, this was one of those times.
  • I was pleased with Mylute's performance and with a little more pace early on, he could have been more of a factor. The son of Midnight Lute made up some serious ground in the final 3/8ths of the race and hit the board in a Classic. 

Racing Notes 

  • The New York State Gaming Commission today announced enhanced security measures for horsescompeting in the June 8 Belmont Stakes. Horses competing in the $1 million purse race will be subject to out-of-competition blood testing for banned substances, be required to be on Belmont Park’s grounds by June 5 and be subject to 24 hour monitoring at their trainers’ own barns and stalls on the grounds. The Gaming Commission is also requiring the submission of veterinary records for three days leading up to the race, which will be published on the Commission’s Web site starting June 5.
  • We'll look at the Belmont contenders starting next week as we approach the third and final leg of the Triple Crown trail.
  • The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame recently announced the 2013 class that will be inducted on August 9 at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs. Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Boreland the racehorses Housebuster, Invasor, Lure, McDyanmo and Tuscalee were this year's selections.
  • Fort Erie Race Track kicks off its 116th year of live racing at the border oval on Sunday afternoon. First post is 1:15 p.m.

 Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

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Horse Racing
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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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