02/18/2016 11:10AM

Evans excited about Santa Anita race-caller audition


ARCADIA, Calif. – Craig Evans grew up in Australia and has called the races in Singapore for nearly a decade. When he takes the microphone at Santa Anita on Saturday for a two-day audition to fill the vacancy of full-time announcer, the 48-year-old Evans will achieve a lifelong dream.

Evans, who grew up in Western Australia, said in an e-mail this week that he has had a fascination with American sports since childhood and has been an avid follower of American racing, particularly the Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown.

Early in his career, Evans called greyhound races in Australia, which he says “really sharpened my focus and made me a much more detailed Thoroughbred caller.”

“Santa Anita has always been this almost mythical track that I never imagined I’d ever get a chance to work at,” Evans said. “To get this opportunity is awesome.”

Evans is the son of a bookmaker and has four older brothers who are trainers. He approached Santa Anita officials before Christmas, shortly after longtime track announcer Trevor Denman announced that he will no longer call the races at Santa Anita. Denman remains the track announcer at Del Mar.

In Denman’s absence, Frank Mirahmadi and Michael Wrona have alternated as announcers since the start of the winter-spring meeting Dec. 26. Evans will call the races Saturday and Sunday. On Feb. 27-28, David Fitzgerald of England will have a two-day audition.

The track is expected to make a final decision on a full-time announcer before the start of the spring-summer meeting May 5.

If Evans is selected, he will be the second consecutive Santa Anita announcer from the Southern Hemisphere. Denman is from South Africa.