“And Down The Stretch They Come”

by Ed Meyer

posted on October 6, 2008 in General Discussion, News | No Comments >>

Five guest announcers will be showcased at Churchill Downs during the track’s Fall Meet, which begins on Sunday, Oct. 26.

Larry Collmus (Gulfstream Park, Monmouth Park, Suffolk Downs and The Meadowlands), Mark Johnson (England), Bobby Neuman (Calder Race Course), Travis Stone (Louisiana Downs) and Michael Wrona (Golden Gate Fields) will each spend one week behind the microphone during Churchill Downs’ five-week stand as track officials continue their process to replace the late Luke Kruytbosch.

Kruytbosch, the voice of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby since 1999, passed away on July 14 at age 47, from an apparent heart attack.

Any of these great voices can fill the booth, but the man will not be forgotten.

Luke Kruytbosch was a large man with a great love of racing. His booming voice would make you immediately pay heed. He called with an accuracy that few can match, and his trademark deliveries will be missed forever.

Time goes on, and Luke would have wanted nothing but the continuation of the show. So many people that hold profile positions, want the spotlight all of the time. He was not that kind of a fella. Content to do his job, he let his love of racing shine through in a golden voice.  That was his reward.  He wanted you to love the action just as much as he did.

There were calls that will always make the hair stand up on my arms. The way he loaded each horse verbally, and let us know whose silks they were wearing. “They’re off and away” would resonate to all ears. He never got rattled, and wanted to bring you a precise picture of the race. The way so many icons brought sports action into our radios. He grew up listening to some of the voices of the past, who could paint the picture of what was going on by simple words alone.

Luke will always be there.  His calls will resonate through the Twin Spires forever.  His stop was brief, but he will not be forgotten anytime soon.  A new day begins on October 26th and the game resumes again; just as Luke would have wanted it.