02/25/2016 9:56AM

English race-caller taking his shot


ARCADIA, Calif. – When David Fitzgerald steps into the Santa Anita announcer’s booth on Saturday for the first day of a two-day audition, he will be in the midst of his first trip to the United States.

Fitzgerald, 31, lives in England, where he has developed a growing reputation as a top young race-caller. Beginning in 2014, he was one of three announcers who split duties during the five-day Royal Ascot meeting. Last June at Ascot, Fitzgerald called the Ascot Gold Cup and the 30-runner Royal Hunt Cup, run at a straightaway mile.

Presumably, an eight-runner maiden claimer around a turn should not be a problem for him.

Fitzgerald is one of four finalists Santa Anita is considering to replace Trevor Denman, who announced in December that he was ending a 31-year involvement at Santa Anita. Denman remains the track announcer at Del Mar.

Since the start of the winter-spring meeting Dec. 26, Frank Mirahmadi and Michael Wrona have split the announcer’s job, with the other working at Golden Gate Fields. Last weekend, Craig Evans, a native of Australia who calls the races in Singapore, had a two-day audition.

Track officials have said they plan to decide among those four before the start of the spring-summer meeting May 5.

Fitzgerald is self-employed and splits his time between racecourse commentary and television hosting on Racing UK, which is similar to TVG. Fitzgerald said in an e-mail this week that he was in contact with Santa Anita officials shortly after Denman made his announcement.

“It’s the things you don’t do in life that you regret the most,” he said. “The opportunity to succeed someone like Trevor Denman is only going to happen once in a lifetime. I love my job in the U.K., and I feel very lucky to do what I do for a living, but I felt that if I didn’t apply for this, then I would regret it. I would hate to look back in years to come and think, ‘Why didn’t I do that?’ ”