Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Peacock Network, Horses Go Together

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Peacock Network, Horses Go Together

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF ELLIOTT

NBC grabs the weekend sports spotlight today when it telecasts the Kentucky Derby today at 5 p.m., with post time about an hour later.

Earlier this week, NBC secured rights to the Derby and the Preakness for five additional years through 2010. The Derby is America's oldest continuously held major sporting event, with today's race marking the 131st Run for the Roses, one more than the May 21 Preakness Stakes.

The network doesn't hold back on its coverage of today's event from Churchill Downs. Twenty-six cameras will be deployed (Fox Sports used 35 cameras in its Super Bowl coverage from Alltel Stadium in February), with more than 200 production workers on hand.

This year's race has an added intriguing feature with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner also owning the pre-race favorite, Bellamy Road. That has brought about numerous jokes and one-liners from media members, including some at NBC.

"I just hope he doesn't fire somebody right in the middle of the race," said Tom Hammond, who returns as host of the network's coverage.

Added analyst Bob Neumeier, "I did about 15 or 20 radio interviews this week, and I would say that each and every time the particular talk show host that I was chatting with said, 'I'm not rooting for Bellamy Road, I hate George Steinbrenner.' "

MEYER SPECIAL AIRED AGAIN

Florida Gator football fans got their first in-depth look on TV at new head coach Urban Meyer Friday when Sun Sports presented a close-up of Meyer, the coach and the man, as part of the statewide cable network's Under the Lights series. Sun Sports plans to re-air the special today at 11:30 a.m.) as well as Monday (8 p.m.), Tuesday (11 p.m.) and the following Sunday (11 a.m.).

The hour-long show, hosted by Sun Sports' Whit Watson, showed Meyer's cross-country path to Gainesville, the individuals and experiences that have inspired and guided him along the way and had comments from players he's coached and legendary head coaches he's served under, including Lou Holtz and Sonny Lubick.

"We talked football for an hour [over lunch] and I knew he was someone special," Holtz said of his first meeting with Meyer. …

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