03/24/2016 11:46AM

Wrona named to replace Denman as Santa Anita announcer


ARCADIA, Calif. – Michael Wrona has been named the full-time announcer at Santa Anita, effective with the start of the track’s spring-summer meeting May 5, the track announced Thursday.

Wrona, who has called races in California for more than 25 years, replaces Trevor Denman, who announced in December that he would no longer call races at Santa Anita after a 31-year career. Denman remains the announcer at Del Mar.

Wrona and Frank Mirahmadi have alternated as announcers at Santa Anita during the track’s winter-spring meeting, with the other working at Golden Gate Fields.

Wrona, 50, and Mirahmadi were among approximately 35 applicants to replace Denman. Two foreign-based announcers – Craig Evans, an Australian who calls races in Singapore, and David Fitzgerald of England – were given two-day tryouts in late February.

“This was a much harder decision than anyone could have imagined,” Joe Morris, the senior vice president at Santa Anita, said in a statement. “The finalists presented us with four incredible options, each a world-class announcer in his own right.

“It was an exceptionally close decision, but Michael just raised his game here at Santa Anita.”

Wrona was born in Queensland, Australia, and began calling races there in the early 1980s at the age of 17.

“I’m overjoyed and humbled that Santa Anita is entrusting me with a booth occupied by so few announcers in the track’s storied history,” Wrona said in the track’s statement.

Santa Anita’s announcers tend to hold the job for decades. Since the track opened in 1934, Santa Anita has had four primary announcers – Joe Hernandez, Chic Anderson, Dave Johnson, and Denman.

For the last decade, Wrona has been the primary announcer at Golden Gate Fields. He called races at Hollywood Park in the early 1990s.

Wrona is calling races through the end of Santa Anita’s current meeting on April 10. Santa Anita officials said on Thursday that a decision on a full-time announcer to replace Wrona at Golden Gate Fields will be made in the coming weeks. The two tracks are owned by The Stronach Group, led by owner and breeder Frank Stronach.