Day one of NBC Sports Coverage of the Kentucky Derby started today with a 2 hour slot on the NBC owned Versus channel. The first hour was a "Derby Classics" special featuring the NBC footage of the 2004 Derby won by Smarty Jones.
The second hour was the Derby Draw Coverage. The hosts for NBC/Versus were the venerable Tom Hammond, Gary Stevens and Randy Moss.
Production quality was high and the 3 hosts worked fine together. Based upon the opening introduction in the first hour it appears NBC will focus on the following 3 story lines:
1. Can Calvin Borel , winner of 3 of the last 4 Derby editions, win again on Twice the Appeal
2.Can Rosie Napravnik become the first female Jockey to win the Derby aboard Pants on Fire
3. the heart warming story of Trainer Kathy Ritvo and the Mucho Macho Man ownership group.
The Derby TV coverage draws in a huge amount of female viewers and NBC wisely chose 2 stories with female angles. The Borel story is also a no brainer as most casual fans only know one Jockey, and that is Borel.
Appears NBC is also wary of the Uncle Mo story line. With the chance probably 50/50 that Mo scratches, NBC is not taking the risk to plug a horse that might not even load in the gate.