After I'll Have Another's late injury and scratch Friday NBC, already the most beleaguered of America's broadcasting big three, could be in for a world of hurt at the 2012 Belmont Stakes. If the New York Times's numbers are any indication the loss of a popular Triple Crown-contesting horse could cut their expected ratings numbers by more than half, a brutal loss to a network that had probably already begun counting its chickens.
I'll Have Another wasn't just any horse, either--he was a popular one, with the right underdog ethos to attract casual horse-racing viewers to the Triple Crown's final leg, and had soaked up so much coverage that it is hard to imagine anyone tuning in to watch the remaining favorites, Dullahan and Union Rags, let alone the little known horses sitting behind even those Kentucky Derby refugees.
If any horse-racing fans out there were frustrated by the relatively mainstream affect of this year's race, well, no problem: The minute I'll Have Another pulled out, so did most of the audience. I just hope you don't hold a stake in Kabletown.