Year Three


Life has returned to normal, and all is well with the world. – When you hear those words from this handicapper, that probably means I’m back to work. – Belterra Park started racing on 4/29, and I’m a happy camper as I begin my third year as announcer and morning line odds maker. Racing has been a part of my life for many years, and long ago I used to go with my Dad. – Times and people change, and all we have are the fond memories from long ago. As I walk from my car to the “crow’s nest.” I think back to those days in the sun with my best friend at River Downs.

Calling races is a scary job. Now, before somebody steps up and claims it’s easy. –  I’m sure there are plenty who would give you an opportunity to call a race on a slow day. – I would be more than happy to allow you the honors. Not to scare or jolt you, but to share the experience along the way. – I would have sold my shoes to try long ago, but there is a “fraternity” that exists like a secret club. I don’t know the secret handshake, and doubt they’ll let me in. Some announcers tear each other down behind their backs, and don’t count on words of advice from most. You read on chat rooms and racing sites how others are bitter toward others who do this great job.

There was a gent named Lucas Martin “Luke” Kruytbosch. – He was the gold standard of what a racing announcer should aspire to be, and his abilities were only over-shadowed by his willingness to help others. – The stories of how he took time to speak to others to begin preparing for the job. Or, the many times he picked up the phone and made a call to a race track and informed management of a person who would be a good fit. – Most of the announcers you enjoy can trace their beginnings to this man. – He was a large man with a big heart, and you could see him a mile away with his effervescent smile. – The last time I saw him was at Keeneland the year he passed away. – I introduced a gal I was dating to the “voice of the Kentucky Derby.” – He was kind, funny, and sipped a draft beer while making small talk. – I was working at River Downs as the director of marketing and we talked shop for about 20 minutes. – I never had plans to call races back then, and never gave it a thought. Times change, and I sure wish I could’ve asked for some sound advice from a man who would do so much for so many. I would have loved to have heard his wisdom and guidance. But I’ll have to settle for seeing him in the sun at River Downs where he would visit the day after calling the most popular race in the world. – You couldn’t have picked him out of a line up as he was just enjoying the day as a patron. – Kind of like having Frank Sinatra have a seat at your concert.

As I begin year three, I find myself grateful. – I enjoy everyday I strap on the headset and create the morning line. – I try to improve daily, and keep both ears open to advice from some good friends and race fans who tell me the truth on what I need to be working on. – That’s what it takes. I’m far from taking center stage, but I’m open to bettering myself. I have allowed some to call a race, and I never take offense to those who chime in with a critical word. That’s the stuff that makes you want to be better. – As I begin year three of a job I love, here are a few words of advice that would fit any career. – Don’t take yourself too seriously, nobody else does. – Don’t punish yourself for mistakes. I’ve never learned anything in life by doing everything correct. – Just relax and enjoy the ride. I started as a young racing fan who would walk in with his Dad long ago, and to this day I’m still the same guy. A little more grey hair and some extra pounds, but the same guy. – I await the Derby like a youngster waiting for Santa to come down the chimney. The hours click by, and I get more excited by the day. – If you work in racing you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you’re a fan who loves the game you have your own fond memories. – Best of luck this week and enjoy the ride !