Like any fan of the game, I have seen and listened to my share of historic moments in horse racing. Yet, the race calls that stand out the most in my mind are the funny ones — whether it was the announcer, the names of the horses or both. I remember these like they happened yesterday. In a game where you have to expect the unexpected the minute the gate opens, track announcers have to be prepared for anything and everything.
As a New Jersey native and spending my formative years on the apron of Monmouth Park with my Uncle Dutch, it is only natural that my favorite race calls come from my home track. So let’s take a break from trying to make a living playing the races and enjoy a few light-hearted moments!
August 22, 2010 – Race 7 – Monmouth Park – “Happy Wife, Happy Life”
Larry Collmus is one of the best race callers of all time. As the voice of Monmouth Park for many years, he had some great luck with horse names and outcomes. I was at the track the day that he made the call of this race, one that would later go viral.
September 27, 2008 – Race 10 – Monmouth Park – “The Fog”
Baseball announcers have a lot of dead air to fill. After all, baseball is 15 minutes of action crammed into three hours. Race callers rarely have this problem.
Anyone familiar with Monmouth Park knows that the fog can roll in quickly. What does a race caller do when they can’t see the race they are trying to call? Here’s a great example:
August 16, 2008 – Race 6 – Saratoga Race Course – “Talk Like a Pirate Day”
Legendary race caller Tom Durkin has had several memorable race calls through the course of his career. When faced with a fun name of a horse that runs on the same circuit, you need to make your own fun.
Arrr matey, something tells me that Tom Durkin enjoyed every minute of that call!
August 22, 2008 – Race 4 – Saratoga Race Course – “Pesky Mother In Law”
While Larry Collmus had to decide if his wife knows everything or if she doesn’t know, Tom Durkin had other family issues.
Listen to him deal with a mother in law that won’t go away!
January 22, 2012 – Turfway Park – Race 2 – “Visit the Gift Shop”
Mike Battaglia uses the dead time during a foggy race for a little advertising.
Be sure to check out the gift shop, they have hats!
July 21, 2012 – Canterbury Park – Race 9 – “Are You High”
On a day of “extreme races”, the finale featured track announcer Paul Allen calling the entire race while inhaling helium.
An entertaining call, he timed it right to get one last breath in before the Ten Thousand Lakes hit the wire!
So, those are some of my most memorable, funny race calls that I could find videos on. What are some of yours?
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.
Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.
Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.
Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at www.jerseycapper.blogspot.com Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at email@example.com.