Now that we know Rachel Alexandra will skip the Belmont Stakes, how will the TV ratings be? For a point of reference this years Kentucky Derby had a final rating of 9.8 and the Preakness had a final rating of 6.8.
One thing for sure, is that ratings for the Belmont Stakes climb when a horse is going for the Triple Crown and are only so-so when no Triple Crown is on the line.
Here is the Data. First the ratings when a Triple Crown is on the line (since 1997) listed by rating, year, horse attempting triple and network:
9.0,: 2008-Big Brown - ABC
13.1,: 2004-Smarty Jones - NBC
10.7,: 2003- Funny Cide - NBC
8.4,: 2002- War Emblem -NBC
6.0,: 1999- Charismatic - ABC
5.9,: 1998- Real Quiet -, ABC
5.3,: 1997,-Silver Charm - ABC
Now here are the ratings when no Triple Crown is on the line since 1997 listed by rating, year, Belmont winner and network:
3.2, - 2007-Rags to Riches -ABC
3.5, -2006-Jazil - ABC
5.4, -2005-Afleet Alex - - NBC
4.9,-2001 - Point Given - NBC
2.8,-2000 – Commendale-, ABC
Since 1997 , with a Triple Crown on the line, the average rating is 8.3. When it is not the rating average is 4.0.
If Rachel would have run, (she had more name recognition than Rags to Riches) the matchup with Mine That Bird would have drawn the casual fan to the Tube, and a 5.0-7.0 rating figure would be possible. Now, with no Triple Crown on the line and no marketable foe facing Mine That Bird look for a rating in the 3.5-5.0 range.
Source: Nielsen Media Research