07/24/2008 12:00AM

Ellis Park hires new race-caller


Bill Downes has been hired as the permanent replacement for the late Luke Kruytbosch as the race-caller at Ellis Park, officials at the Henderson, Ky., track announced Thursday.

Downes will vacate his current position at Presque Isle Downs to assume the Ellis job on Aug. 6. Ellis had planned to use several announcers during its current meet, which runs through Sept. 1, but the hiring of Downes "works for him and for us," said Mark Geary, director of development at Ellis.

Downes grew up in the Chicago area and has called races for about eight years at various tracks, most recently at Presque Isle Downs and Beulah Park. There has been no announcement of his successor at Presque Isle, which runs through Sept. 27.

Kruytbosch, who died suddenly July 14 near Ellis, was best known as the race-caller at Churchill Downs, which has yet to hire his replacement. Churchill next hosts live racing on Oct. 26.