12/08/2015 4:29PM

Mirahmadi resigns Oaklawn post for shot at Santa Anita job


Frank Mirahmadi, who has been the announcer at Oaklawn Park since the retirement of longtime caller Terry Wallace, said Tuesday he has resigned his position with the Hot Springs, Ark., track to call races at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields. 

Mirahmadi, a 48-year-old native of Los Angeles, said he and Golden Gate Fields announcer Michael Wrona will serve as announcers at the winter-spring meet at Santa Anita, which begins Dec. 26. Mirahmadi also will call at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California when Wrona is in action at Santa Anita. They will at least temporarily replace Trevor Denman, who on Friday announced he is retiring from calling races at Santa Anita.

“Santa Anita has always been my dream job,” Mirahmadi said. “Trevor is my idol. They haven't by any means promised me anything. I have to give it my best to see if I can hopefully win over fans and management.”

Mirahmadi said he received a call from Santa Anita management last Thursday afternoon.

“They told me confidentially that Trevor was going to announce his retirement from Santa Anita," he said. "They said they were not prepared to name a successor, but for the next upcoming season would like for me to call some of the meet. They plan to open up a worldwide search.”

Mirahmadi said he does not know which specific dates he will be calling at Santa Anita.

“I know it’s just something I have to pursue,” he said. “Steve Crist’s book 'Betting On Myself' says it all. If you ask me what my favorite book is, it’s 'Betting On Myself' by Steve Crist. I think it’s a fitting title for what I have to do here.”

Mirahmadi took over as Oaklawn’s announcer four years ago, in 2012, recalling the date by listing off the winners of the Arkansas Derby during his tenure: Bodemeister, Overanalyze, Danza, and American Pharoah.

“No matter what happens, I’m going to very much miss Oaklawn,” Mirahmadi said. “They’re great people. They gave me the opportunity to call the best races of my career. There’s nothing else I would ever consider leaving them for [except] Santa Anita. I’ve been going to Santa Anita for over 40 years. I’ve been there for many Big Caps, many Malibus.”

Oaklawn has begun its search for a new announcer, and issued the following statement Tuesday.

“Frank Mirahmadi has resigned to pursue other opportunities,” said track official David Longinotti. “We wish him the very best. Oaklawn is among the premier race meets in the country and we have begun a search to find the most talented race caller available. We have received numerous applications.”

Oaklawn opens its meet on Jan. 15.


scott gardner More than 1 year ago
Wrong is the right person for the job! Stop the search now and sign him up!
Karen More than 1 year ago
neither--Wrona has an irritating accent & Mir has a too startling, loud voice. Vic S is better than both or get an up & comer.
Mark W. More than 1 year ago
Michael Wrona has been the best race caller in the country for years. The Mir Man is a joke, comparatively speaking.
Jerry Mann More than 1 year ago
Frank,escaped with his soul..happy for him
Russ Jenkins More than 1 year ago
One plug for a guy that i think doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves: John Dooley (Fairgrounds, Arlington). The guy is just absolutely excellent: has a good, clear speaking voice and doesn't get rattled. That's what you need.
Ivan Lopez More than 1 year ago
I just don't get whats the fascination with Frank Mirahmadi. He is just an average caller with a squeaky voice, not original at all. And his impersonations were good the first time. Then, its more of the same.
Russ Jenkins More than 1 year ago
I think Mirahmahdi is one of the top 3 callers in the country right now. Yes, he can be funny when he wants to be, but he calls races superbly: unlike some of the slow-mouthed guys, he normally gets all the horses in the race a mention, and like Trevor Denman and the other greats, is able to spot horses making their big moves and tells the proper story in his calls. We need more like him.
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Question - where are all the women race callers? THey do wonderful work throughout the industry but have not moved into this position. I do like both Wrona and Mirahmadi. One thing I really appreciate about Frank is his eye in photo finishes. He will call the winner even if its by a nose or head. He saw it so he calls it. Others say too close to call even if its a long neck. Just have some fortitude and call it. Sometimes a few inches is clear to the trained eye even at my old age. I have no preference in having a distinctive Euro sounding voice, a SoCal sound, or a country sound from the south. What I want is accuracy, clarity, and honesty. If a horse got a terrible trip then call it. If you see a horse loaded during the race and it is meaningful to the bettors call it. American race callers vary in style and ability. There is one that is an institution in Florida that seems to have overstayed his ability. I suppose the home towner's like their man. In the end the race caller does not make the race. It is about the horses and really the gambling on horses. That is why most of follow the sport.
william More than 1 year ago
"In the end the race caller does not make the race." Have you watched Victory Gallop's Belmont or Cigar's Classic or the 1987 Classic?
DavidM9999 More than 1 year ago
Yes, but I was focused on horses and exciting finish in an imprtant moment,When the race was over it was the horses I recall not the race call. Just me, no knock on anyone that prefers or remembers calls over horses.
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
And while we're at it.Where are all the African American announcers.We need to open these prestigious positions up to everyone that covets them.
Mike More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, not many Negro race callers I know of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bill Downes is 1-9 to get the Oaklawn job well deserved
joseph More than 1 year ago
Our homegrown announcers as a group aren't very good. Watch any race from Australia or Hong Kong and the difference is stark, they use analysis in their calls and sometimes humor and don't bore me with the useless quarter time calls as 90% of the announcers do here. .
Bruce Epstein More than 1 year ago
While I appreciate Mirahamadi's "need" to try to get the SA job, he has come a long way in the last 4 years. From the fair tracks to OP and Mth. He seemed quite secure and happy with both those jobs. OP is a top of the heap tier 2 track, with a long history of keeping their announcer. I wish Mirahamadi would have played it safe and kept the two jobs he had. On another note, he will be making some extra money at SA, as they have a very high percentage of "chalk" winning and as we all know, Frank love to bet the chalk. While I don't agree with your decision, I do wish you well and do enjoy your work.