Saturday's running of the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, drew 16.2 million viewers to NBC, the second-most watched since 1989 (18.5 million on ABC).
The race, which went from 6:05-6:53 p.m. ET, was only surpassed by the 16.5 million that tuned in to see Super Saver win the 2010 Derby. Viewership was up 9% from last year and up 12% over 2011. The top five metered-markets were: Louisville; Ft. Myers, Fla.; Cincinnati, Knoxville; and West Palm Beach, Fla. (tied).
The pre-race coverage from 5-6:05 p.m. drew 9.1 million viewers, up 12% from last year and notched the second-best viewership for pre-race coverage, which dates back to 1992. Coverage on the NBC Sports Network, which ran from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., drew 500,000 viewers, up 19% from last year.
The second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, is set for May 18.