Race caller

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A race caller is a public-address announcer or sportscaster who describes the progress of a race, either for on-track or radio and TV fans. They are most prominent in horse racing, auto racing and track-and-field events.

Among the jobs of a race caller is to identify the positions of various entrants during the race, and point out any sudden moves made by them. In horse racing, many callers also point out the posted fractions—the times at which the lead horse reached the quarter-mile, half-mile and similar points of a race.

A race-caller who specifically describes the event over a racetrack's public-address system is the track announcer. In horse racing, track announcers handle up to nine or ten races per day; more on special stakes-race days.

Most horse-race callers memorize the horses' and jockeys' (or drivers in harness racing) silks and the horses' colors before the race, to be able to quickly identify each entrant. During a racing day, track announcers also inform patrons of scratches, and jockey/driver and equipment changes (for example, whether a horse is wearing "quarter inch bends" or "mud caulks").

History[edit]

The first race ever called happened at Agua Caliente Racetrack at Tijuana. On February 5, steward George Schilling called the first race. He started immediately to develop future race callers Clem McCarthy and Joe Hernandez.[1]

Among the earliest prominent race callers was Clem McCarthy. According to the book Sports on New York Radio, McCarthy was hired in 1927 as the first track announcer at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois, one of the first Thoroughbred racetrack with a public-address system. He later gained national fame calling important horse races for the NBC Radio Network, including the Kentucky Derby, starting in 1929.

Other prominent race callers were early sportscasters Ted Husing, Bill Stern, and Marty Glickman, all of whom called horse racing and track-and-field events during their careers.

The first race ever called happened at Agua Caliente Racetrack at Tijuana. On February 5, steward George Schilling called the first race. He started immediately to develop future race callers Clem McCarthy and Joe Hernandez.[1]

Among the earliest prominent race callers was Clem McCarthy. According to the book Sports on New York Radio, McCarthy was hired in 1927 as the first track announcer at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois, one of the first Thoroughbred racetrack with a public-address system. He later gained national fame calling important horse races for the NBC Radio Network, including the Kentucky Derby, starting in 1929.

Other prominent race callers were early sportscasters Ted Husing, Bill Stern, and Marty Glickman, all of whom called horse racing and track-and-field events during their careers.

The best-known horse-race callers since the dawn of the television age have been Chic Anderson, Dave Johnson, Trevor Denman and Tom Durkin. All four gained acclaim not only as public-address announcers but network sportscasters, providing pre-race analyses and features for national fans as well as the race calls.

Other prominent horse-race callers with at least a decade of experience past & present day include Marshall Cassidy, Cawood Ledford, Fred Capposella, Luke Kruytbosch, Michael Wrona, Joe Hernandez, Larry Collmus, John Dooley, Frank Mirahmadi, Robert Geller, Phil Georgeff, Kurt Becker, Vic Stauffer, Mike Battaglia, John Scully, Dale Day, Dave Rodman, Paul Allen, Richard Grunder and Terry Wallace. Terry called over 20,000 races in a row at Oaklawn. Harness racing fixtures past & present are Ken Middleton, Larry Lederman, Roger Huston, Jack E. Lee, Sam McKee & Ken Warkentin

In New England, at Suffolk Downs and Rockingham Park, a legendary announcer named Babe Rubenstein called races for decades, starting in the 1930s. Rubenstein, it was said, never miscalled a race. He was working at Rockingham Park on the day of the 1938 hurricane, when the winds are said to have blown off the broadcast booth from the top of the grandstand. An often told story in the 1950s had it that Babe was contacted by one networks, for possible employment on a national level, as opposed to his work in New England. The story went that as part of the proposed contract Babe would have to change his name. He refused, saying, "I was born Babe Rubenstein and I will die Babe Rubenstein." Jim Hannon was another prominent race caller in New England.

In track and field, one of the most prominent race callers is Tom Hammond of NBC Sports, who also anchors the network's horse-racing coverage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Agua Caliente Story, Remembering Mexico´s legendary racetrack