Thoroughbred racing is beauty in motion. The majestic horse carries himself with swagger and confidence and humans only wished it came in a bottle. It’s fair to say you won’t see many things as strong and fragile all in the same stride. To bring to life and capture the essence of a horse race is nothing short of magic. The talented folk that bring the pageantry to life make the sport a one-of-a-kind spectacle.
If you would like to take an attempt at the toughest job at the track. Head on up, and strap on the headset. I have heard many over the years and they bring a distinct flavor. If you were listening on radio years ago, you could feel the thundering hooves turning for home. If you’re at the track and hear your runner’s name called, it would give you goose bumps as they made their way into the homestretch. Nothing adds more action than hearing your favorite announcer call them home. As in every sport, we have our personal favorites that made our blood pressure jump a few notches. Here are a few that made the hair stand up on my neck:
Chic Anderson - Is there any better race call than the 1973 Belmont Stakes?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V18ui3Rtjz4
Fred Capossela – He began calling races in 1934, and was the voice of the Triple Crown from 1950- 1960. He is best known for his 1962 Travers Stakes with Jaipur and Ridan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rKCAhELwhc
Dave Johnson – When you heard, ” And down the stretch they come,” only one voice could bring it to life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3o65WOHhUQ
Marshall Cassidy – “They’re all in line” always caught my attention. I love New York racing, and this one still stands out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLx-ljX89lc
Phil Georgeff - As you heard “Here they come spinning out of the turn,” the chills would run down your arm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzPAMVZ5m-w
Trevor Denman - “The field is sent on their way” could stop a train when these words are echoed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEWi0iwAL_M
Mike Battaglia – If you heard “Gaining ground, or very well bunched.” You could have been at one of three Kentucky tracks Mike called. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NChEC2FaiOk
Larry Collmus – He wears the mic when a big race is on tap. His distinct clear voice makes the race come into full view. He has called many great races, but here is one that will have you in stitches. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3GKiRp333w
Kevin Goemmer – K.G. called races in Ohio, Kentucky, and Chicago. His voice could bring chills to the hardcore horse player. I watched him call a race, and in mid-turn he turned off the mic and looked over at me and said: ” Hey, take a look at the horse in 7th along the rail. He is going to roll.” He flipped the switch back on and his words came true.
Luke Kruytbosch – This man may have been one of the best to ever call races. His gravely voice, and descriptive narrative could paint the race in full color. He helped many callers get in the fraternity, and left the game way too soon. There isn’t any conversation among race callers where his name is not mentioned. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnBDPSqePlU
Here are some of the “young guns” that will be bringing us the action for years to come:
Pete Aiello – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgLsx2r7YHw
Jason Beem – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpQO06beif0
Bill Downes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZvH9wdbRkQ
There are so many names, and only so much time. Many callers take me back to a time when I was young and the game was new. Some allowed me to get a closer look at the action, and the new announcers have some big shoes to fill, and they’re doing a great job. What do you think? Any favorites come to mind?? If not, keep an open ear and pay close attention as they ply their trade on a daily basis. If you’ve ever thought it was easy, just stop up and pay them a visit. I bet you’ll find it a whole lot easier listening in the grandstand.