02/29/2012 4:05PM

Let me make the call


I bet you did not know that I used to call harness races? From 1997 to 2004, I called races at Goshen Historic Track, Monticello Raceway, and the entire 1999 season at Bangor Raceway in Maine.

While not the greatest announcer, I’d like to think I was somewhat informative and held my own. I took my share of ribbing from co-workers at my full-time gig at Sports Eye for screwing up a name or two. The horse L Run For Apples comes to mind. I think I called him L Run Apples. Oh well! There were also those New Englanders who were never quite content with my Brooklyn accent. How you doin!

Why does any of this matter to you?

On Thursday you will be subjected to my call one more time. I will be making the biggest call of my career (hard to call it a career, I guess) when I enter the announcer’s booth at the Meadowlands and attempt to call a race at the Mecca of harness racing. Wow, just saying that makes me nervous.

With only approximately 500 race calls on my career résumé, I’m far from potential Hall of Famer Sam McKee, who will hand over the microphone for the fifth race. In a sport that is measured by time, I can attest that the fastest mile I have ever announced was likely the 1:56 4/5 clocking by Soulofthematter in the annual Paul Bunyon Invitational at Bangor Raceway in 1999. It is also worth noting that I have never called a race on a mile track. So, I will be checking some items off the ol’ Bucket List.

I have to say I have been overwhelmed with the amount of emails and calls wishing me luck.

I invite everyone to our Meadowlands Live Video page on Thursday to listen to me. I may do a good job, but perhaps I will bungle a few names and give the boys on the www.horseplop.com message board someone new to humiliate.

Either way, I’m excited.

What’s in a name?

I placed a win wager at the Meadowlands last Thursday and saw something strange on my ticket. Right next to the number of the horse I selected, in big capital letters, the name of the horse appeared. Listing the name of the horse on a win, place or show wager is not new to the market, but it is just another sign that New Meadowlands is willing to make changes to appeal to new bettors.

“Anything that makes the wagering experience easier for newcomers and veterans alike is a no-brainer,” said Meadowlands General Manager Mike Newlin.

Printing horse names on each ticket is a great idea in my book; just another safeguard to ensure you made the correct wager.

Newlin also mentioned the possibility of customers being able to wager easily via their smart phones and tablets.

“On-track patrons would be able to wager via a secured in-house tote network,” said Newlin. He continued, “Hopefully we can implement it in the current facility but it will certainly be in place when the new grandstand is completed.”