12/08/2014 2:57PM

Beem hired as Louisiana Downs announcer


Jason Beem has been hired as the full-time announcer for Louisiana Downs, the Bossier City track announced Monday. Beem currently is the announcer at Portland Meadows in Oregon, where he will continue to call races through Dec. 28. He begins his Louisiana Downs duties with the opening of the track’s Quarter Horse meet Jan. 10.

“I’m thrilled,” said Beem, a 34-year-old native of Renton, Wash. “For me, it’s a new challenge.”

Beem noted that the move will significantly increase the number of programs he calls since Portland Meadows runs about 38 dates a year, compared with 130 for Louisiana Downs, counting its meet for Thoroughbreds.

Beem is a graduate of the University of Washington who got his start calling races at River Downs in Ohio. He was brought on as an announcer at Portland Meadows in 2006. Beem said he hopes to continue to call some races at Portland Meadows during the Louisiana Downs offseason in October, November, and December. The current Portland Meadows meet extends to Feb. 10.

Beem takes over from Rick Mocklin, who stepped into the booth during this year’s Thoroughbred meet when Travis Stone was hired by Monmouth Park. Mocklin is also an agent for one of Louisiana’s leading riders, Richard Eramia, and was unable to be a full-time announcer as Mocklin and Eramia winter at Fair Grounds during the Quarter Horse meet at Louisiana Downs.

Beem plans to make stops at Santa Anita, Turf Paradise, and Sunland Park as he travels to Louisiana Downs, where he is due to arrive Jan. 3 or Jan. 4. The trip will be his vacation.

“Racetrackers go to racetracks,” he said.