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Preakness Stakes Rises 20% From Last Year With 9.7M Viewers

NBC's coverage of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 18 drew 9.7 million viewers, up 20% from last year's race and the most since 2009, according to Nielsen.

The race, which ran from 5:50-6:39 p.m. ET, was also the fourth most-watched dating back to 1990.  The HH rating for the race rose 13% from last year to a 5.4, also the highest since 2009. NBC Sports Network's two-hour pre-race show from 2:30-4:40 p.m. averaged 466,000 viewers, nearly doubling last year's audience (234,000).

The top five metered-markets for the race were Baltimore (where the race is held) with a 15.7 rating; Louisville (Ky.) with a 15.0; Oklahoma City with a 11.2; Knoxville (Tenn.) with a 11.1; and Ft. Myers (Fla.) with a 10.6.

The gains for the Preakness follow the Kentucky Derby, which garnered the second-best viewership since 1989 with 16.2 million viewers on May 4. The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, is set for Saturday, June 8 on NBC.