NBC's broadcast of Saturday's 140th running of the Kentucky Derby -- which saw the 3-year-old chestnut California Chrome capture the crown -- drew 15.3 million television viewers.
The TV audience was down nearly 6% compared with last year, when an estimated 16.2 million people watched Orb win at Churchill Downs, according to numbers from ratings giant Nielsen.
Nonetheless, NBC celebrated its strong showing, noting that the weekend race marked the fourth time in six years that NBC's coverage of the Kentucky Derby had topped 15 million viewers.
The Comcast-owned TV network also said it set a record for the number of minutes of coverage streamed on its digital platforms: 4.4 million.
The numbers represented NBC's best showing on a Saturday since the Winter Olympics in February.
More than 164,900 people crowded into Churchill Downs in person, including 21st Century Fox Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch, who attended as the guest of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
Kentucky Derby viewership, networks and winners:
2014 15.3 million NBC California Chrome
2013 16.2 million NBC Orb
2012 14.8 million NBC I'll Have Another
2011 14.5 million NBC Animal Kingom
2010 16.5 million NBC Super Saver
2009 16.1 million NBC Mine That Bird
2008 14.2 million NBC Big Brown
2007 13.7 million NBC Street Sense
2006 12.9 million NBC Barbaro
2005 13.6 million NBC Giacomo
2004 14.6 million NBC Smarty Jones
2003 11.8 million NBC Funny Cide
2002 12.8 million NBC War Emblem
2001 13.5 million NBC Monarchos
2000 9.1 million ABC Fusaichi Pegasus
1999 9.9 million ABC Charismatic
1998 9.5 million ABC Real Quiet
1997 11.3 million ABC Silver Charm
1996 11.0 million ABC Grindestone
1995 9.3 million ABC Thunder Gulch
Source: NBC SportsCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times