01/28/2011 2:05PM

Wallace ends Oaklawn race-calling streak


After calling 20,191 consecutive races at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., announcer Terry Wallace decided to watch Friday’s fifth race on the track apron in a move that brought an end to a streak that began 37 years ago. Frank Mirahmadi, who had been retained as the backup announcer for Oaklawn for 2011, took over for the fifth race, with Wallace returning to call the remainder of the card.

“I’m very comfortable in knowing that my record isn’t going to be broken any time soon, so I’m thinking it might be fun to experience the track I love so much from a different perspective,” Wallace, 66, said. “With that said, I don’t plan on going anywhere for a while, but it is nice knowing I can step out of the booth from time to time.”

Wallace, who has been called the “most recognizable voice in Arkansas,” began his Oaklawn streak with the first race on Feb. 7, 1975.

“We are very proud of his accomplishment and felt that he deserved what most other racetrack announcers have - a backup for emergencies,” said David Longinotti, the assistant general manager of racing for Oaklawn. “We also felt that by giving Terry the opportunity to leave the booth every once in a while, we could utilize his popularity with our fans in other ways.”

Oaklawn officials believe Wallace’s announcing streak is a world record, and have submitted an application to have it formally recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Wallace is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and his first race calling position was at River Downs. He also called races at Ak-Sar-Ben and Horsemen’s Park, and he is in the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame.