Friday, August 15, 2014
Larry Collmus, we barely knew you.
After replacing the ubiquitous Brit Mark Johnson in the announcer's booth at Churchill Downs in the spring of 2014...Collmus is packing his tack and headed to New York for 2015.
In race track parlance, he has pulled up on the first turn and been eased.
The lure of calling racing at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga for the NYRA and replacing the legend Tom Durkin proved to be a strong siren song for Collmus.
Several friends and I discussed the possibility of Collmus bolting from the gate when Durkin announced he was going to retire. It has come to fruition.
Who will Churchill bring in to do the stretch calls?
I'll offer a few options here.
1) NO MORE guys with English, Australian or South Africa accents. That experiment failed and that boat has sailed.
2) Someone as colorful and exciting as the late Luke Krutybosch. His call of a race was exciting, not mechanical.
3) Kurt Becker. He does the Keeneland meets. He did Churchill for a year before taking on more auto racing announcer gigs. Time to throw an obscene amount of money at him and woo him back. His 'call' is excellent.
4) John C. Dooley also calls a great race. Easy to understand and gives a clear picture of what is going on.
Besides calling the races at Arlington Park, Dooley spends the winters doing the same at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
5) John Asher. He has declined to be part of any consideration in a pre-emptive strike...but if Churchill loosen up the purse strings and covered John in "C-Notes"...it might put him in the chair.
6) How about a gal? Jill Byrne and Donna Barton Brothers are eloquent and knowledgeable. Jeanine Edwards knows the routine...
Whichever way Churchill goes after the fall meet...I hope they keep in mind that the average race fan just wants to hear where their bet/horse is in a race and who won. The rest is all fluff and filler. They took Luke from relative obscurity (Turf Meadows) and he shone. Is it time to give a similar small-time track race caller a break?