With the introduction of a new race caller for the Triple Crown races in 2011, I thought it's be nice to take a look at some of the favorite race callers and track analysts that each of us have.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- John G. Dooley (Fair Grounds/Arlington Park): Good cadence, lots of enthusiasm without being over-the-top, very tight race calls with little to no mistakes or "dead air". His Arlington Million calls are usually pure gold and he's got the added bonus of being on Twitter (@JohnGDooley).
- Kurt Becker (Keeneland): A very underrated race caller, in my opinion, and one that fits in perfectly with Keeneland. Since for years Keeneland didn't even have a track announcer, it makes perfect sense that the one they have now is an even-keel, technically strong race caller. Becker is probably not a guy that would call big national races, since TV likes to go for a little bit of flair, but I can listen to him call a race all day long.
- Robert Geller (Emerald Downs/Sunland Park): Your home track announcer always rates high since you know who it is the second you hear it, and that's the way it is with Robert Geller, track announcer at Emerald (and Sunland Park in the winter). Geller, like the others on my list, usually has a very nice, clean call that flows well throughout the race. He's very in-tune with the local jocks and trainers and seems to anticipate the race quite well as he can spot a horse making a winning move very early.
Honorable mention: Larry Collmus (I was glad to see him get the Triple Crown gig as I always liked his calls at Gulfstream); Tom Durkin (His calls elevated some of the great Breeders' Cup performances in history); Luke Kruytbosch (The former Churchill Downs announcer that passed away a few years ago; I really liked his race calling style, voice tone, and cadence).
I'm mainly listing the TV analysts (ESPN, VS., NBC, TVG, or HRTV), but feel free to toss in any local people that you like to listen when you are at the track.
- Brad Free: SoCal DRF correspondent and analyst for HRTV. An excellent handicapper with some fabulous insights on bet and ticket construction. It's really too bad that HRTV isn't in more homes because the world needs to be exposed to Brad Free.
Randy Moss: I think Moss does a fantastic job of talking the technical side of handicapping and horse racing and putting it into terms that general public can understand, which is really important if you are doing analysis for national TV.
- Bob "Mr. B." Baedeker: I was disappointed when I heard that TVG let Mr. B. go a while back because I thought he was one of the better handicappers they had. Truth be told, Mr. B. isn't going to light the place on fire with over-top yelling, predictions, or flair...which was fine by me. Instead, he was simply a guy that knew how to play the horses.
- Joe Withee: Track handicapper from my local track of Emerald Downs. Like many local track analysts and handicappers, Joe is extremely knowledgeable about all the jockeys and trainers at Emerald and his pre-race analysis from the paddock is always top-notch.
- Jill Byrne: She knows her stuff, bar none. Plus, she has some great insights into maiden races.
Who are some of your favorites?