07/14/2008 12:00AM

Race-caller Luke Kruytbosch dies


Luke Kruytbosch, who called the last 10 runnings of the Kentucky Derby as the regular race caller at Churchill Downs, was found dead Monday morning in the apartment he rented seasonally in Evansville, Ind. He was 47.

According to Churchill officials, Kruytbosch failed to show for an engagement at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., where he also was in his 10th year of calling. The cause of death most likely was a heart attack, according to published reports citing the Vanderburgh County, Ind., coroner's office.

Kruytbosch (pronounced KRITE-boss), who was born and raised in McLean, Va., was a graduate of the University of Arizona's racetrack industry program. Using a deep baritone in developing his own style of calling, he began his career at smaller tracks, including the Arizona fair circuit, before succeeding Trevor Denman at Hollywood Park in 1996. Besides working at Churchill and Ellis, he had also been the regular caller at Turf Paradise in Arizona since 1993 and in recent years at Kentucky Downs in south-central Kentucky.

Kruytbosch also formerly called at Ruidoso Downs, where he called six runnings of the rich All American Futurity for Quarter Horses, as well as at tracks in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Alberta, Canada.

Kruytbosch was single and had no children.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Monday.

Kruytbosch said in April that his first Derby call, which came in 1999, when Charismatic won, remained his most memorable.

"It was overwhelming," he said.

Kruytbosch was just the fifth announcer in Churchill history, following Gene Schmidt (1940-60), Chic Anderson (1961-77), Mike Battaglia (1977-96), and Kurt Becker (1997-98).