NBC Draws Second-Best 20.6M for Belmont Stakes

Though California Chrome fell short in his bid to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978, NBC still ended up a ratings winner.

California Chrome's fourth-place finish drew 20.6 million viewers, the second most for the race on record (since 1988), trailing only the 21.9 million viewers for Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown attempt in 2004. Compared to last Belmont where a Triple Crown was at stake, Saturday's race was up 57%.

Airing out of the Belmont, the second game of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final between the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings averaged 6.4 million, up 34% from Wednesday's Game 1 and well above the 4 million that watched last year's second game, which aired on cabler NBCSN. Saturday night's game -- a 5-4 double-overtime victory by the Kings -- was originally slated to air on NBCSN, but NBC switched up the broadcast schedule to take advantage of the lead-in from the Belmont.

The next two games from New York's Madison Square Garden will air on NBCSN.

(Travis Lindquist/Getty Images)