June 03, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) The Belmont Stakes will be staying on NBC after the network and New York Racing Association reached a long-term agreement.

The deal announced Wednesday extends the partnership that began in 2001. The network has televised the third leg of the Triple Crown series from 2001-05 and again from 2011 to this year.

Also part of the deal is the airing of the Metropolitan Handicap, the Belmont Gold Cup Invitational, the Belmont Oaks, the Wood Memorial, various summer races from Saratoga and the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Last year's Belmont, in which California Chrome's Triple try was derailed with a fourth-place finish, drew 20.5 million viewers, second-highest on record. The most-viewed edition of the race was in 2004, when 21.9 million tuned in to see Smarty Jones' Triple Crown bid fail.

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