NBC's thoroughbred racing family has one of its regular reunions this week in Louisville, Ky., where the network will broadcast tomorrow's 131st running of the Kentucky Derby.
Besides producer David (yes, he's the brother of Al) Michaels's game plan for race-day coverage (Channel 7, 5-6:30 p.m.), the network will have plenty of racing news to discuss.
The good news: NBC announced Tuesday that it has agreed on five-year extensions to broadcast the Derby and Preakness through 2010.
The bad news: ESPN announced last week that it has obtained the rights to televise the Breeders' Cup races, starting in 2006, ending the event's 22-year run on NBC. Last fall, NBC lost the Belmont Stakes to ABC in a deal that also begins next year.
The in-house news: The group's communally owned horse, Conflictofinterest, an unraced 3-year-old filly, is in quarantine as she recovers from a contagious equine strep infection.
Neumeier's departure from WEEI radio and the midday "Dale & Neumy" show means he's been at Churchill Downs since Wednesday, instead of scrambling for a flight after the Thursday radio show.
Of his parting with WEEI in February after not being able to agree on a new contract, Neumeier has taken the high road. "I've moved on. The station's moved on," he said. "I'm enjoying life and ready for the next adventure. The success of `Dale & Neumy' has inspired me to tackle new ventures and be confident they'll be successful."
Neumeier, race caller Tom Durkin, Donna and Frank Brothers, and Charlsie Cantey are back and ready for NBC's final season of broadcasting all three Triple Crown races.
Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports, is clearly not pleased with losing the Belmont, since his network airs the other two jewels of the Triple Crown -- the Derby and Preakness.
"For reasons still unbeknownst to me, the group at Belmont chose to make a deal with ABC/ESPN without ever coming to us," said Ebersol.
Neumeier speaks highly of the NBC staff and its Derby coverage.
"The level of professionalism is so high and everyone involved does their utmost to maintain it," said Neumeier. "That was evident at the Olympics in Athens and will be this weekend in Louisville. It's an exhilarating atmosphere to work in."
Tom Hammond and Bob Costas will cohost the Derby coverage along with Cantey. Neumeier will report from the stables, saddling area, and trackside plus do his handicapping rundown with Mike Battaglia.
ESPN has its customary programming around the Derby. Today's highlight includes coverage of the Kentucky Oaks fillies race (5 p.m.). An overnight handicapping show at 1 a.m. tomorrow will be on ESPN2. Tomorrow's programming from Churchill Downs starts with "Wire to Wire" from 5-6 a.m. (ESPN), followed by "Breakfast at Churchill Downs" from 9 a.m.-noon (ESPN2), "Today at the Kentucky Derby" from noon-3 p.m. (ESPN2), a Derby special from 3-5 p.m. (ESPN), and a postrace highlights show from 6:30-7 p.m. (ESPN2) . . . Westwood One/CBS Radio has renewed its multiyear agreement to broadcast NFL games. The network's 54-game 2005 schedule includes "Monday Night Football," "Sunday Night Football," playoffs, and the Super Bowl. Locally, WEEI is
CBS is on a first-name basis -- Tiger, Phil, Vijay -- with its strong