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Belmont Stakes 2012: I'll Have Another Expected To Boost Television Ratings With Triple Crown Chase

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What makes the Triple Crown of horse racing so special is the rarity of horses winning one. Only 11 horses have claimed the prize, and the last time one did it was 34 years ago with Affirmed swept all three races in 1978. Since then 11 other horses have won the first two legs of the series, just like this year's Triple Crown favorite I'll Have Another. One winner in that horse's chase for history is the NBC network, which is banking on bigger ratings for the June 9 Belmont Stakes.

Ratings for the Preakness dropped eight percent over last year. However, if history is any guide, I'll Have Another's win at Pimlico last Saturday should boost ratings for Belmont. According to a report from USA Today, television ratings for Belmont have averaged four percent of US households without a Triple Crown contender since 2000. The four races since then that did feature a horse trying to capture the third jewel of the crown averaged more than 10 percent of households.

As a result, NBC and their offshoot NBC Sports Network will try an capture some of that interest with expanded programming.

For more on the Preakness Stakes and the race for the Triple Crown, stay with this StoryStream and check out SB Nation's horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come. There, you'll also find a A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.