07/07/2017 4:59PM

Longtime race-caller Burgart to retire next June

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Los Alamitos photo
Race-caller Ed Burgart

CYPRESS, Calif. – Ed Burgart, the most recognized voice in Quarter Horse racing, is retiring next summer.

Burgart said on Friday that he plans to call the races at Los Alamitos through next June. He said the timing of his retirement will coincide with his 66th birthday. Burgart said he has considered retirement in the last year and wanted to close his career on a high note.

“I didn’t want to wait until I was making a lot of mistakes,” he said. “I wanted to continue while I was still sharp.”

Burgart plans to spend more time at his retirement home in Prescott, Ariz., about six hours from Los Alamitos.

“The drive is getting more difficult,” he said.

Burgart began his fifth decade of working at Los Alamitos this year. He began in March 1977 as part of the track’s publicity department, focusing on radio results.

His deep-throated description of a start – “And away they go!” – has been part of a soundtrack for tens of thousands of races at Los Alamitos since he began calling races in the early 1980s. In addition, to his work as an announcer, Burgart writes the track’s program comments and morning line for the nighttime races and conducts handicapping seminars.

Burgart graduated from UCLA in 1974 and was a sportswriter at the now-defunct Orange County Daily Pilot, which led to occasional trips to Los Alamitos for Quarter Horse and harness race meetings. When the radio position became available, he switched careers and gravitated toward announcing when he became fully involved in racing.

At the time, the California Quarter Horse circuit conducted a meeting early in the year at Bay Meadows. Burgart began calling the final race of the day for experience and later took a full-time job as the announcer for that meeting in 1980. The next year, he began calling the Horsemen’s Quarter Horse Racing Association meeting at Los Alamitos.

By the end of the 1980s, Burgart was the full-time Quarter Horse announcer at Los Alamitos. Since 2000, Burgart has called races on a year-round basis at Los Alamitos following the end of harness racing at the Orange County, Calif., track.

Burgart occasionally has called Thoroughbred meetings, at Hollywood Park in the 1990s as an autumn replacement for Trevor Denman for a few seasons and during the daytime Thoroughbred races at Los Alamitos in the summer of 2014.