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When Rob Hyland worked his first Kentucky Derby for NBC in 2001, it was a 90- minute show with a handful press reporters and just one race– the Derby– was aired.

Hyland, the coordinating producer of NBC’s horse racing coverage, now is at the helm of 15 hours of protection over three days. The broadcast Saturday from Churchill Downs will be five hours, features 5 races, include 3 sets and 16 commentators.

” It’s grown a fair bit. Fingers crossed it all works out,” Hyland said.

The greatest technical advances this year consist of a very slow-motion cam on the pole of the finish line on the main track. It can supply a reverse angle for the Derby finish as well as being able to pan around and reveal the surface at the wire for all the races on the grass course.

There’s likewise a 360- degree “glam camera” on the red carpet that will allow fans and celebs to have their Derby clothing captured. It is the kind of cam seen throughout the Golden Globe and Academy Awards programs, but with more protection dedicated to Derby celebs and fashion it was something new to contribute to the day.

While the focus is on the 20- horse field, NBC is devoting more protection to celebrations at the track and across the nation. The day will begin with Mike Tirico, Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey positioned at a set in the paddock, which is the largest area of fan traffic throughout the day, before they relocate to their usual set outside turn one closer to the race.

There will also be coverage of parties in Denver, Las Vegas, New York and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Hyland, who deals with NBC’s “Football Night in America,” said he got the concept about a paddock set during the AFC playoffs when the pregame show began among the fans outside Arrowhead Arena prior to moving inside.

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” With that sea of individuals in the background, and I believe it will alter the overall energy for the very first half of the program,” Hyland said.

MORE HANDICAPPING KNOWLEDGE

Handicapper Ed Olczyk, who is also an NBC hockey expert, will get more time to discuss his choices.

” We truly wish to offer Eddie more time throughout the whole day to inform, entertain and inform the casual audience on what enters into his decision making and offer some more time to the betting in our program to have a few back-and-forths in between Mike, Jerry and Randy,” Hyland stated.

Olczyk, who struck the trifecta for last year’s Derby, will also be a part of “NBC Sports Bet: Derby Special,” which will be on NBCSports.com on Saturday at 5 p.m. The 30- minute program will deal with getting one of the most worth on a bet to the impact of the weather and track bias.

” I may alter my choice probably 10 various times, but we’re going to try to do what we did last year,” Olczyk stated. “Depending on what occurs with the weather condition on Saturday, you might make a case for 6, seven, eight horses to win. As a handicapper, I need to have a game strategy, which’s what makes our group and our team so terrific is that possibly the track is playing a certain way. I might have to have two sets of picks depending upon if it’s a fast or off track.”

WHO’S NEW?

Premiere League host Rebecca Lowe will co-host Saturday’s festivities and has an interview with two-time Triple Crown trainer Bob Baffert.

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller will be a lifestyle reporter as he records the style scene. Miller, who has attended previous derbys, has actually called it a fantastic combination of culture, style and sport.

THE MONTH OF HORSE POWER

The Kentucky Derby kicks off a busy month for NBC. The network also has the Preakness, Stanley Cup playoffs and will have the Indianapolis 500 for the very first time.

” Think of two sporting events, one with 175,000 folks here at the Derby, and after that one at the end of the month two hours away up I-65 in Indianapolis, where there will be about 300,000 individuals, two of, if not the 2, greatest attended American sports events, and they bracket our month at NBC,” Tirico stated.

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Follow Joe Reedy at www.twitter.com/joereedy

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