10/13/2014 11:22AM

Battaglia won’t work Breeders’ Cup broadcast for NBC

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Barbara D. Livingston
Mike Battaglia will call the races live at Churchill Downs from Oct. 26 through Nov. 2 while Larry Collmus is on leave.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Mike Battaglia, part of major racing broadcasts on NBC for more than 20 years, said recently at Keeneland that he will not be working the upcoming Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita and instead will call the races live at Churchill Downs while Larry Collmus is on leave.

Battaglia, the longtime face of Keeneland racing as host of the in-house simulcast program, said he was disappointed with not being part of the NBC team after having worked the Breeders’ Cup, Triple Crown, and other major racing events for the network since 1993. He is being replaced by Eddie Olczyk, an NBC hockey commentator and longtime racing supporter based in Chicago.

Battaglia, 64, will call the first week of racing at Churchill from Oct. 26 through Nov. 2, marking the first time he has called regularly at the Louisville track since the 1996 fall meet. Battaglia called every Kentucky Derby from 1978 to 1996 before being replaced by Kurt Becker, who still is the only race-caller at Keeneland since a public-address system was installed in 1997. Becker resigned at Churchill after the 1998 fall meet and was replaced by Luke Kruytbosch.

Collmus, who calls the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup for NBC, will resume his duties at Churchill on Nov. 5 through the end of the meet Nov. 30. This is his final Churchill meet after just one year on the job, having been hired in August by the New York Racing Association to be its main caller starting in April.

In the meantime, Churchill officials said they are continuing their search for a full-time replacement for Collmus, starting with the 2015 spring meet.

Besides his announcing and commentating duties, Battaglia also has been the linemaker for 40 years at Churchill, Keeneland, and his home track of Turfway Park, where he continues as race-caller during the winter months.

harpharper . More than 1 year ago
I loved how he used to SCREAM the race calls of the Spiral Stakes. You know those people, the less they know the louder they get.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
MB's call of Marfa winning the Jim Beam Spiral Stakes will live on, like, forever!
Larry Hull More than 1 year ago
Just been announced that Mike Battaglia will be doing commentary on Hockey Night in Canada.
Blake Jessee More than 1 year ago
Gaining grounndddd, onnnnn theeeeeeee outtttsideeee.....
harpharper . More than 1 year ago
And there off. From the inside that is....on the outside that is... GAINING GROUND IN THE CENTER OF THE TRACK...repeat. U have now listened to 25 years of race call from mike Battaglia.
Bob More than 1 year ago
Whew!....What relief! This guy has got to be the absolute WORST race caller in the history of mankind! His nasally, whiny voice and positively AWFUL handicapping make him the trifecta of bad racing personalities!
Frank Reach More than 1 year ago
I read this story and honestly thought ....who cares. And then I sat and read all 158 comments. LOL. Truly great reading...funny and mostly all of you are right ! Bottom line.....Battaglia calling races and picking winners is like Helen Keller doing home decorating. Let's just say.....not good.
TomN More than 1 year ago
who is this "Helen Keller". Not familiar with her work?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was going to pile on, but now I sort of feel bad...
harpharper . More than 1 year ago
THANK GOD. Only bad part to the story is he is calling the races at CD. Oh well, no one bets CD anymore anyway.
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Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
How could anyone be a Non Trevor fan Matthew, get a grip of yourself. As for Larry, you make it sound in your comment that you don't like him, once again Matthew, get a grip.......Larry will do just fine, just thank goodness it is 1 of these 2...........
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Big Rob stud More than 1 year ago
You realize NBC makes that call and that if they wanted Trevor they would have gotten him. Collmus a much better announcer anyhow.
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Big Rob stud More than 1 year ago
Are you mental?