Horse Racing: 138th Preakness Stakes

Gary Stevens aboard Oxbow (black) wins the 138th running of the Preakness Stakes as John Velazquez aboard Itsmyluckyday (pink and blue) finishes second at Pimlico race course. (Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sport / USA TODAY Sports / May 18, 2013)

The audience for NBC's coverage of the Preakness was up by as much as 24 percent during the afternoon, according to overnight Nielsen data provided by the network.

The audience for the block of time that includes the race (5:45 p.m.-6:45 p.m. ET) was 9% up from 2012 with a 6.0 ratings versus 5.5 last year.

Pre-race on NBC (5 p.m.-5:45 p.m. ET) was up 24% from 2012. That's a 3.6 ratings versus 2.9, and that's the largest audience since 2009.

Not surpisingly, Baltimore was the top market with the telecast drawing a 15.7 rating and a 32 share.

Other tops markets: Louisville 15.0/27, Oklahoma City 11.2/20, Knoxville 11.1/20, Ft. Myers 10.6/20, West Palm Beach 10.2/20, Cincinnati 9.1/18, Greensboro 9.0/17, Washington, D.C. 8.9/21, Buffalo 8.6/20