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The Jockey Club, NBC Sports kicks off Road to the Kentucky Derby series

The Jockey Club, in collaboration with the NBC Sports Group, will kick off the Road to Kentucky Derby series with a 30-minute special previewing the Triple Crown season on Saturday on the NBC Sports Network from 6-6:30 p.m. (EDT). The NBC Sports Network Channel Finder is located at nbcsports.msnbc.com.

The special, produced by America's Best Racing, will provide a comprehensive look at the top contenders for the 2013 Kentucky Derby as well as features on jockeys Gary Stevens and Rosie Napravnik and the six recent college graduates who are now serving as "brand ambassadors" for America's Best Racing.

America's Best Racing, initiated and funded by The Jockey Club and promoted in association with NTRA Communications, is a multimedia fan development platform designed to increase the profile and visibility of North America's best Thoroughbred racing events, with a primary focus on the sport's lifestyle and competition. Additional information is available at followhorseracing.com.

The brand ambassadors are traveling around the country in an "ABRV" bus, promoting Thoroughbred racing's lifestyle scene and premier events. The tour kicked off at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 8-17.

The live racing telecasts commence on March 30 with the Grade 1 Florida Derby from Gulfstream Park and Grade 2 Louisiana Derby from Fair Grounds on NBC Sports Network from 6-7 p.m.

The Grade 1 Wood Memorial from Aqueduct and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita Park will air on NBC Sports Network on April 6 from 6-7:30 p.m.

The series will conclude on April 13 with 2 1/2 hours of continuous coverage spread across two networks. A 90-minute live broadcast on NBC featuring the Grade 1 Blue Grass from Keeneland will be followed by a one-hour broadcast on the NBC Sports Network featuring the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. The NBC telecast will air from 4:30-6 p.m. while the NBC Sports Network telecast will air from 6-7 p.m.

All six races fall into the highest tier on Churchill Downs' new points system to determine starters for the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4 on NBC. The points system features 36 stakes races overall and 17 marquee events for three-year-old Thoroughbreds that comprise a 10-week run up to the first Saturday in May.

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