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NBC News analyst Steve Kornacki isn't just a political expert—he's got a passion for horse racing that began in Maine

NBC's Steve Kornacki talks to Pat Callaghan about the Preakness and Kornacki's time at Scarborough Downs picking races as a child.

MAINE, USA — Steve Kornacki is most often seen crunching numbers for political stories on NBC News and MSNBC. But with no national elections this year, he's been expanding his portfolio to include sports and entertainment.

He spoke with NEWS CENTER Maine from the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore where the Preakness Stakes will be run Saturday.

Kornacki was the only member of NBC's broadcast team to pick Medina Spirit as the winner of the Kentucky Derby. That horse is once again the favorite of oddsmakers but had a post-Derby test that showed elevated steroid levels, which he said is very unfortunate for racing.

"I think we just got the circumstance where even if Medina Spirit goes on to win the Preakness, if that second test result is also positive, and I think everybody pretty much expects it will be, I think it's very likely that Kentucky Derby victory will be taken down," Kornacki told NEWS CENTER Maine. "So you could have a horse that actually crosses the finish line first in the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but is not declared the winner of those two races."

Kornacki is from Massachusetts, but he has strong ties to Maine.

His uncle owns The Capital on West Grand Ave. in Old Orchard Beach. Kornacki says in the late 1980s, his uncle started bringing him to Scarborough Downs.

He said there was no simulcasting from other tracks at the time, "so we were really focused on the trotters at Scarborough. I like to tell the story of that night I was six, I think I picked five straight winners, he didn't bet a single one of them, and I haven't had a night like it in 30 years."

Kornacki said he frequently gets together with his uncle and other family members here, and his parents retired to Maine a few years ago.

"I spent a fair amount of time up there," he said.

Kornacki said he has another fun project in the works: a game show.

"We're in the development stage, we're talking over a bunch of different ideas and we're going to try to develop something. No fixed concept yet, we've got a couple of kind of balls in the air, but it's gonna be fun to be a part of, I'm really excited to come up with something there."


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