With California Chrome chasing after the elusive Triple Crown, it’s no surprise that this year’s Belmont Stakes race was heavily watched across the country. The 2014 race received its second highest viewer rating, with a total of 20.6 million people tuning in to watch the action.
A huge fan base followed California Chrome to the final race of the Triple Crown series, after he won both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness races this year. If he won at Belmont Stakes, he would become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
To the disappointment of many viewers, the Triple Crown trophy did not make an appearance on Saturday. California Chrome ended up tying for fourth place, with Tonalist taking home the gold.
With so many viewers, social media was buzzing with Belmont hashtags and bets on who was going to win. The trending hashtags for the race were: #BelmontStakes, #TripleCrown, and #TheNYRA.
The Belmont Stakes website also kept viewers at home updated with race information and recent social media mentions. The website offered a live stream of the race, as well as a pinboard of relevant tweets, Instagram pictures and Facebook posts. It also provides a photo and video gallery, ensuring that fans have access to all multimedia from the race.
After the race, California Chrome’s co-owner Steve Coburn sparked conversation when he “less-than-gracefully” accepted his loss.
He argued on camera that horses like Tonalist, who did not participate in the previous two races, have an advantage at the Belmont Stakes race. His emotional outburst received both criticism and support from the public, but Coburn ultimately apologized on Monday morning.
His public apology on Good Morning America was directed to “everybody associated with Tonalist” as well as “the world and America.” He called the experience a learning process, and promised to “do better” in the future. Whether or not his apology was successful is still being debated in the social media courtroom.
Even though California Chrome didn’t take home a trophy this weekend, Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston and Jesse Mueller did. These stars were just a few of the winners at the 68th Annual Tony Awards.
The biggest winner of the night was Audra McDonald, who received her record-breaking sixth Tony Award. She received this award for her role as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. This was just one of many exciting moments of the award show hosted in the historic Radio City Music Hall. The host for the night was Hugh Jackman, who surprised viewers by hopping his way from the red carpet into the theater. His energetic entrance was a tribute to Bobby Van’s hop dance in Small Town Girl, a musical from 1953.
Fighting the awards show for viewers and ratings, Game 2 of the NBA Finals aired simultaneously on ABC. Ultimately, the Heat/Spurs match-up attracted over 12.5 million viewers, almost doubling the number of viewers who tuned in to watch the Tonys. It was also the most talked-about TV program on Twitter that day, claiming 63 percent of TV-related tweets.
The Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 98-96, leaving the teams tied going into Game 3. The next game in the series will by played in Miami, FL on Tuesday, airing at 9 p.m. on ABC. If the social media trends from the first two games continue, a secondary back-and-forth will play out over Twitter.