04/17/2006 11:00PM

Louisiana Downs hires new caller


Travis Stone, a virtual unknown on the national circuit of Thoroughbred announcers, has been named as the new race-caller at Louisiana Downs, which begins its 2006 meeting May 5.

Stone has called races at Suffolk Downs, according to a Tuesday release from Louisiana Downs, but appears to have spent an equal amount of time writing about racing. The release said Stone covered the Saratoga meet for a racing publication called the Saratoga Special, and also wrote about Keeneland for a similar publication. Stone, from Schroon Lake, N.Y., received a degree in communication arts, and also went to an auctioneer's school.

Stone replaces Frank Mirahmadi, who was one of three major figures to depart Louisiana Downs in recent months. The track announced it had parted ways with Mirahmadi and general manager Ray Tromba this past winter, and last week longtime racing secretary Pat Pope confirmed that he would not return for the upcoming season. Louisiana Downs has yet to name a replacement for Pope.