Sky Sports Racing has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the Kentucky Derby across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Sky Sport's dedicated racing channel has agreed a new long-term deal with NBCUniversal, which also includes a multi-year extension of the broadcast rights to the other two legs of the US Triple Crown series - the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.

Sky Sports Racing, the successor channel to At The Races, is set to launch before January 1st and will become the eleventh Sky Sports channel.

“This agreement reinforces our long-term commitment to the biggest racing events on the international stage and we will help raise the profile of these great fixtures even further in the UK and Ireland with coverage and cross promotion across Sky Sports,” said At The Races chief executive Matthew Imi. “The Kentucky Derby is an institution in the US, and in recent years, the achievements of American Pharoah and Justify have brought the Triple Crown series to mainstream attention around the world.

“We also value our partnership with NBCUniversal and there are excellent opportunities for further cooperation in helping promote racing on both sides of the Atlantic."

The $2m Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the most attended horserace in the US, frequently attracting over 160,000 racegoers.

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