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Second Annual Media Celebrity Announcer Day
BALTIMORE-06-06-14---The race calls for Friday’s 10 race-card were made by members of the Baltimore press corps, who found out first-hand how difficult track announcing is during the second annual Media Celebrity Announcer Day at Pimlico Race Course.
“It was a fun day. Everybody did some prep work which was good but the thing is you can prepare all you want but it just depends on the flow of the race to how hard or easy it is going to be,” said Dave Rodman, who has been the caller at the major Maryland tracks since March 1991 and called his 24th Preakness Stakes three weeks ago. “Some of them had really difficult races. Brent Harris got surprised by the International silks where six horses wearing the USA colors which made his race the toughest of the day. But that is racing and every day is different. Some days we have five photo finishes and other days it can be pretty easy. Practice makes perfect. It took me several hundred thousand calls to get where I wanted to be. I give these guys a tremendous amount of respect for coming out here and putting themselves on the spot.”
Below are the links to each call and the reaction from the celebrity.
Race 1-Brent Harris, Comcast Sports Net
“The prep work is important but when they come out of the gate, all bets are off. Having to adjust because all the silks were the same was a challenge. I didn’t want to mess up the winner and I was focused on the winner. After that it was a crap shoot as to who was coming across the finish line. The race took about a minute and a half but it felt like 15 seconds. At one point I looked down at my chart and went back to the binoculars, they were halfway down the backstretch. I lost them that quick. There were a good bit of nerves. Dave was my coach the last week and he felt like I did okay so that means a lot. I did one race and was focuses on 11 horses and those names and those silks. He does this every day and refocuses every 30 minutes for the next race is amazing to me. There is definitely a different appreciation when they stick you behind the mic and try to do it. It was a blast.”
Race 2- Brett Hollander, WBAL Radio
“It was so challenging. I messed up a few names but I had the correct ones in the photo finish so I am proud of that. I also made the right call of not trying to pick the winner. That was one of the thrills of a lifetime. I have been to Pimlico so many times over the last 25 years and this is even more than marking something off a bucket list. It was so much fun to have the opportunity. It was no more or less challenging than I thought it would be. What Dave Rodman, Larry Collmus and Tom Durkin do for a living is the hardest thing to do in sportscasting and it lived up to the hype.”
Race 3-Lowell Melser, WBAL-TV
“It was extremely difficult. I had them coming out of the gate but once they came around the first turn and went behind the trailers I lost them. There were so many horses (full field of 12), so when they turned for home I couldn’t tell who was who. My nightmares came true but it was so exciting. I really enjoyed it and really want to do it again now that I know and have been thrown into it. It is kind of like a roller coaster for the first time and you want to keep riding it and riding it. That’s what I want to do with this. I am a little disappointed because by the time I could see the race was over. This is the hardest play-by-play job in sports. No doubt.”
Race 4- Jeff Barnd, WBFF-TV
“It was exhilarating. Unlike any other sport you are not looking at the names on the back of the jerseys to go with the numbers. Dave gave me some great tips and I followed them. It was a lot of fun. To do what he does each day is amazing. It was a good race. I just wanted to get it right because people are betting on these races and deserve to hear it done correctly.”
Race 5- Wyatt Everhart, WMAR-TV
“It was more difficult than I imagined and it looks difficult. What I feared happened. There were two sets of horses that had similar colors, two red & two yellow and of course they were bunched up front. I didn’t want to say the wrong horse so I felt it was better not saying anything. I was hoping Marsden would be up front because he was in pink. I have a respect for what kind of pressure Dave has each day. It is really exciting to be here today and I feel honored to be here with what is happening with California Chrome. I hope he can get it done.”
Race 6- Justin Schlegel, 98 Rock
“Boy that was fun. I was hoping Sterling’s Maximus was going to win the race because I am a big Russell Crowe fan. I have a never realized how much accurate you have to be. I give big props to anyone who does this for a living.”
Race 7-Stan Charles, Press Box
“This was on my bucket list. I have been coming to Pimlico since I was 13 years old. I always thought I could do a better job than the track announcer. I remember Ray Haight and Dick Woolley. To be in the booth where they called the Preakness and where Dave Rodman now calls it is truly an honor. I cannot imagine how much works goes into preparing for 10 races each day is mind boggling. I saw a horse making a move and thought it was either Bocono or Brickyard Kitten because both were in red. I glanced down at the program and got it right but I feel bad about not having a better stretch call but it was a blast and I would love to do it again.”
Race 8-Glenn Clark, WNST Radio
“I have terrible vision and had trouble seeing. It is unbelievable difficult thing to do. I am good at filing time and I started that way but didn’t know if everyone would be upset so I tried calling the race. It was fun but I am never going to do this again. I have a tremendous amount of respect for how difficult this job is and not something you can do well first time out. I legitimately knew the horses. We actually went over the runners on my show. I can run down the entire list but it didn’t translate. When they were bunched up together it was just so tough.”
Race 9-Quint Kessenich, ESPN
“I was okay with how the first half of race went but the logistics in the booth makes it very difficult. It isn’t like watching from your couch. These guys are 100 times better than folks realize. It is amazing guys like Rodman or Durkin can tell a story within a race. If I could do it again if would have identifies that the favorite, Almost an Angel, wasn’t firing. I do prep work for all my sports. This was fun because it took me out of my comfort level. To come here and do something like this was totally out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot and have a tremendous appreciation for what these guys do.”
Race 10-Gary Stein, Baltimore Blast/UMBC
“I was so nervous. This is so different from anything I have ever done. In other sports, you prepare and have stats and story lines to support you. I just felt I was behind right away and not to mention the fact three had red caps and they were bunched up together. I have a new found respect and am glad it is over, to be honest. I had the misfortune of following Quint, who did a great job. I just decided to get the call right at the end of the which, which I did.”
SPRING MEET ENDS SATURDAY, CALIFORNIA CHROME LOOKS TO BECOME FIRST TRIPLE CROWN WINNER SINCE 1978
The 2014 Pimlico spring meeting ends Saturday afternoon. Following the 11-race card, fans will watch to see if Kentucky Derby(G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) winner California Chrome will become racing’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978 in the Belmont Stakes (G1). Post time for the Belmont is 6:52 p.m. Eastern.
The first 6,000 fans will receive a complimentary California Chrome button. Officially licensed California Chrome merchandise will be available in the Pimlico gift shop. Fans will be able to watch the final jewel on big screens televisions located next to the tote board and on the second floor of the grandstand.
The Saturday festivities also include the annual Beer & Bourbon Classic with over 60 different beers and bourbons available.
About Pimlico Race Course
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing's famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.
Pimlico Race Course is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.