Tirico takes over for Hammond on NBC’s horse racing coverage

Tirico takes over for Hammond on NBC's horse racing coverage

Mike Tirico is taking the reins from Tom Hammond as a host of NBC’s Triple Crown horse racing coverage.

Tirico adds the job to his recently announced duties as host of the network’s prime-time Olympics coverage starting next winter in South Korea.

Hammond has accepted a reduced role after covering racing for more than 30 years at the network. He turns 73 on May 10.

He will host a 30-minute special called “My Kentucky Home” on NBCSN during the first week in May. Hammond is a native of Lexington, Kentucky.

Hammond, who has covered a dozen Olympics, will be part of the network’s coverage of the Pyeongchang Games in February.

“As I embark on a less demanding schedule at NBC, I can rest assured that the coverage of thoroughbred racing is in good hands,” Hammond said Tuesday. “That sport is very close to my heart, so I am pleased that Mike, a highly accomplished professional, will assume the role as leader of the superb NBC horse racing team.”

Tirico will make his Triple Crown debut at the Kentucky Derby on May 6, working on the show’s main set with analysts Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss. As usual, Bob Costas will open the telecast and do pre-race interviews, an essay, and winner’s circle interviews.

Tirico will work the Preakness on May 20 and the Belmont on June 10.

The 50-year-old broadcaster joined Hammond for his first horse racing assignment last fall during NBC’s coverage of the Breeders’ Cup.

“Tom’s professionalism, presence and passion for the sport enhanced Triple Crown viewing for so many of us over the years,” Tirico said. “He perfectly set the tone, and in the process set the standard for this role.”

Hammond is also giving up his anchor position on the Breeders’ Cup, in which he had participated since the event began in 1984. A network spokesman says no decision has yet been made on his replacement. However, it’s possible Tirico could be freed from his NFL broadcasting duties to cover the event Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar near San Diego.

Beth Harris, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Update: Body found on Blind Bay beach ‘recently deceased male’

Police and coroner investigating, death deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Photos: Salmon Arm celebrates Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie

Hometown hero welcomed home with parade, recognition ceremony at city hall

Update: Fire at Best Western Hotel sends man to hospital for smoke inhalation

Crews on scene Friday morning, fire extinguished quickly

Man shot by police in 2017 pleads guilty to string of offences

Kaymen Winter gets two years, opts for trial on two charges related to Salmon Arm car wash shooting

Shuswap drug smuggler pleads guilty in U.S. court

Colin Martin admits to using helicopters to transport marijuana and cocaine across the border

What’s happening

Find out which events are taking place in the Okanagan and Shuswap this weekend

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

B.C. pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions from around B.C. for National Puppy Day 2018

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Dance into spring with Shujazz

Listen to music, enjoy an introductory dance lesson on Tuesday, March 27

Armstrong declares State of Emergency

Residents whose homes are impacted by the flooding should call City Hall 250-546-3023

Most Read