Video Killed the Radio Call

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 13, 2017 in Blogroll, General Discussion, Horse Racing, | 3 Comments >>

Image result for pics of WNOP the Jazz Ark


We sat around the small transistor radio waiting for the call-to-the-post bugle on WNOP 740 am. We were transported to the track magically as Leo Underhill would take us right to the rail with his smokey voice. – This would be the follow-up to finding a newspaper and gleaning the entries and guessing who you wanted to bet a couple of bucks. A call was made to the local small-time bookmaker and away we went. – As the field assembled and loaded into the starting gate the “Jazz Ark” would bring the action right to our ears. – These were the best times as we sat on the back patio or taking a break when my dad was painting a house. This was the highlight of the day for a horse player and those few minutes of action.

When Keeneland was in session it was the call-to-the post sound from WLAP 630 am. – Mike Battaglia would call the feature race of the day from Keeneland as there was no track announcer at the time. During the day you would get a tape replay of the stretch call at 20 after and 20 til’ the hour. – Magical moments that grabbed me away from a college class to make the short jog to the car. A few times I had won a pretty good amount and my car would make the 45 minutes drive to Lexington, Kentucky.

Churchill Downs was the best as WHAS 840 am would bring you the live call of the feature race and give the rundown of results from the dulcet tones of Paul Rogers. Later to become the deep voice of John Asher. – This was racing coverage when you couldn’t make it to the track and open simulcast was 2,000 miles away in Las Vegas. – You had to have a “man” to call to get your bet down or a friend would carry your wager. As a kid falling in love with the game I didn’t think things could get any better.


Image result for TVG logo pics         Image result for Twinspires logo pics       Image result for Xpressbet logo pics


Fast forward to the future when the simulcast explosion took over. You were able to bet any track in the country at your local oval, and then came the advent of the ADW such as TwinSpires, Xpressbet, and TVG to name a few. You had to load in your cash and watch and wager from the comfort of your home or office anytime you wanted.  No more parking, fighting traffic and battling the elements. It was just a  click away and it was all yours. – This is great when the weather is sweltering or you don’t want to battle the Derby crowd at Churchill Downs. The ease of wagering was user-friendly and most ADWs were pretty much the same minus the rewards programs.


One of the best parts of the simulcast / ADW explosion was the ability to go back and watch race replays. If you are a trip handicapper this was eye-candy that would give you a visual reminder of who did what where. If you had a bad trip horse, you could go back and watch as many times as you liked or could log the name onto one of the many “Horses to Watch” lists that notify when your horse works, enters, or 48 hours before they run. – Times had changed and the track became more of a once in an awhile visit. You could get your bet down in a click of a mouse and save yourself time. – Video gave us a visual tool that made up more of a “trip” handicapper.

With the benefits of video and ease of wagering the radio call became a thing of the past. It was a fond time and you were transported magically to hear the race call from the late-great Kevin Goemmer. Oh, the days sitting on the patio with dad listening in to some of the local greats that would capture my heart and create a love affair that lasts to this day.