Hambletonian enjoys ratings increase on NBC

05:36 PM 18 Aug 2011 NZST
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Hambletonian crowd 2010
Hambletonian crowd 2010 - at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

According to data provided by The Nielsen Company, NBC Sports' August 6 telecast of the 86th Hambletonian from The Meadowlands registered a 0.5 in ratings compared to a 0.4 last year in the same time slot. The uptick represents an additional 150,000 viewers for the only national broadcast of a harness racing event.

86th Hambletonian NBC 3-4 PM   0.5 720,000 Viewers
US Swimming Championships NBC 4-6 PM 0.6  909,000 Viewers
ESPN Sports Saturday on ABC ABC 4-6 PM 0.4  560,000 Viewers
Golf Special CBS 1-2 PM 0.3  430,000 Viewers
PGA Golf CBS 2-6 PM 1.9  2,755,000 Viewers

he Hambletonian is the richest Standardbred race of its kind with a $1.5 million purse. The companion event for fillies, The Oaks, was also aired live. Driver George Brennan became just the second driver in history to win both races with the Lief Alberg-owned Broad Bahn taking the Hambletonian and Maryland resident Bartling’s Bold And Fresh winning the Oaks.

Tom Hammond and Gary Seibel anchored the broadcast, while Kenny Rice and Donna Brothers, part of the award-winning NBC racing team, reported from the front paddock and the racetrack. Meadowlands track announcer Ken Warkentin provided the live race call of the classic events.

As part of the broadcast, NBC Sports presented a feature on Pastor Stephen, trained by Jimmy Takter. The colt is named for Rev. Stephen Heinzel-Nelson, pastor of the Allentown Presbyterian Church where one of Pastor Stephen’s owners, Christina Takter, is a parishioner. In addition to honoring Reverend Heinzel-Nelson, Takter and the horse’s other owners have decided to give five percent of Pastor Stephen’s earnings this year to support development projects in the African nation of Malawi. Pastor Stephen finished fifth in the race, earning $75,000.

Moira FANNING

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