CT native will be the first woman to produce Kentucky Derby TV broadcast

On Saturday, millions of people will watch one of the most-pulsating events in sports – the “Run for the Roses” at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville, Ky.

Stamford-based NBC Sports is broadcasting the 148th Kentucky Derby, with a team of about 250 people on site this week at Churchill Downs. Leading the group is Lindsay Schanzer, a New Canaan High School graduate, who is the new senior producer of NBC Sports’ derby coverage – and the first woman to produce the television broadcast of the biggest race in American horse racing.

In an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media Group, the five-time Sports Emmy winner discussed her goals in the new position, why the derby’s pageantry resonates with so many viewers and how NBC Sports is trying to grow the audience for horse racing.

The following are excerpts from the conversation:

Q: What does it mean to you to be named senior producer of NBC Sports’ Kentucky Derby coverage and become the first woman to produce the Kentucky Derby TV broadcast?

Scanner: I’m really proud. But it’s not something I set out to do – to be the first woman in this position.

I’ve learned so much from the people who came ahead of me. I want to do a great job, do this sport justice, tell great stories and make people watching want to be here and enjoy this thing I’ve come to love so much.

If I can inspire some girls along the way who may want to get into television and be a part of something like this, that would just be a bonus.

Q: You have worked on NBC Sports’ horse racing team for the past 10 years in a number of roles, which include producing last year’s Belmont Stakes and serving as the lead producer of NBC Sports’ Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup and Royal Ascot production since 2020 How will you draw on that experience in your new role, which entails overseeing all of NBC Sports’ horse racing production?

Scanner: As far as my goals, in part it’s to continue the foundation that’s been set. I’m really proud of the horse racing coverage that we do at NBC.

The team that I work with on the Kentucky Derby and horse racing in general is the most incredible team. We’re lucky enough that most of us have worked together for years and are really passionate about this sport. It means so much to be a part of this event every year, and I feel so lucky to get to work with them and learn from them.

Q: What makes the Kentucky Derby unique?

Scanner: The Kentucky Derby is the biggest event in American horse racing and something I’ve always loved and enjoyed attending.

Despite the fact there have been advances in sports and Churchill Downs changing over the years, one of the things people love about this event is it’s kind of the same. There’s the garland of roses. It’s a two-minute race. And it’s fun. If you come to the event, you drink mint juleps, you dress your best.

Fingers crossed, we are in for what should be a great race Saturday, with great weather at a jam-packed Churchill Downs, which is going to be a thrill.

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