It seems that the Derby, like the Indy 500 and the Penn Relays, carry just enough cachet through their storied histories to draw in the curious. It helps, in the case in the Derby, to be an event that is an excuse to throw a party and wear crazy hats. If NBC could find a way to gin up a reason to party over the Wood Memorial or the Santa Anita Derby, it surely would.


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Robert Weintraub is the author of The House That Ruth Built. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and Slate, and a television writer/producer based in Atlanta.