NBC Sports will air two weekends of live coverage from Keeneland's fall meet.
The track, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this fall, announced that the broadcast network will follow its successful Summer at Saratoga coverage with Autumn at Keeneland.
"We can think of no better way to celebrate our anniversary season than with our friends at NBC," Nick Nicholson, Keeneland's president, said in a news release. "They have done an outstanding job with their coverage of summer at Saratoga, and any time we can showcase quality racing on a national level, it's good for our entire sport."
"Keeneland is one of the true iconic venues in horse racing," said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and its sports-oriented cable TV cousin, the Versus network. "With the great results we had from this year's Triple Crown and the tremendous response we are getting from our Summer at Saratoga package, to be able to add Autumn at Keeneland further cements the NBC Sports Group as the home of horse racing."
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The opening FallStars Weekend, Oct. 7-9, will have an hour on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, on Versus, which will broadcast the feature race of each day beginning at 5 p.m. Versus is available on Channels 549 and 971 on Lexington's Insight cable TV system.
On Saturday, Oct. 15, NBC will have an hourlong show featuring the $400,000 Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and the $125,000 Keeneland 75th Anniversary race.
NBC has scored something of a surprise sports TV hit with Summer at Saratoga. The first weekend, which aired July 23 on Versus, drew 1.18 million viewers, reported Thoroughbred Times. That's slightly above the number who tuned in for the 2009 Breeders' Cup Championships on ESPN.
The coverage of Keeneland's fall meet, which has not been televised for many years, comes as the Thoroughbred industry is working to increase TV coverage, which is down significantly in recent years.
The Jockey Club said last Sunday it will develop a new racing series for next year and is looking for a TV partner, possibly NBC, to broadcast it.