It's almost the first Saturday in May in Kentucky, which means one thing and one thing only: Horse racing is king for a day. The first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown takes place tomorrow as the Kentucky Derby prepares to run for the 137th time. Essentially, it's an all-day party in Louisville, one that's filled with celebrities, exotic hats, and mint juleps. Not only that, but it's the most popular portion of the Triple Crown, even though it's the event's first leg, something research at Nielsen indicates quite nicely.
According to their report, the buzz surrounding the Kentucky Derby exceeds both the Preakness and the Belmont. While the measurements compare 2010 to 2009, the indicate the Derby is the early leader in 2011:
Comparing U.S. buzz about the Triple Crown races, Nielsen found that the Kentucky Derby had the most buzz in 2009 and 2010, and is off to an early lead in 2011. Close behind the Derby’s buzz is the Belmont Stakes, which despite being the final race in the series makes up significantly more buzz than the Preakness Stakes.
The high buzz rating for the Kentucky Derby also translates to an increased viewership in regards to its televised broadcast. Nielsen indicates the race drew 16.5 million viewers in 2010. Unfortunately, the Derby's potential popularity for 2011 took a hit when it was announced suspected favorite Uncle Mo was scratched from the race:
Nevertheless, the Derby is still a popular subject going into the weekend, including Twitter. While it's not currently a trending topic, the search for "Kentucky Derby" finds a great deal of tweets, and since it's not a trend, most of these communiques have legitimate content. So get out your bourbon, your crazy hats and your gambling shoes and get ready to enjoy "the fastest two minutes in sports."