“And they’re off!”
Some pretty well-known words for anyone who listens to race calling. Travis Stone, the track announcer for Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, Louisiana answered some questions regarding this talent.
You can visit Travis’ site at http://www.racecalling.com/ and if interested in a handicapping course, check out http://www.racecalling.com/bpcc.php.
Have you always been interested in horses and when did you start out race calling?
I started race calling when I was really young by practicing with toys, my bike, marbles â€“ you name it. It became a serious endeavor around the age of 12. Horse racing sold me the second I watched my first race.
How much of your day/week is based around horses?
Literally around horses? Not much. I follow the sport religiously on the internet and through television. I am an avid reader of racing news, and contribute to various discussion groups throughout the net.
In this field is it possible for someone to be a full time professional, earning a livable income?
I’m very lucky in that my job allows me to work year-round on salary. I purchased my first home last year. Each day I wake-up and realize how lucky I am. However, many announcing jobs are part-time. It’s a tough career for sure.
What are the general steps taken to become a race caller?
Practice, practice, practice. Also, make contacts. Get experience in racing, no matter what level. I wrote for a newspaper, auctioneered â€“ did anything I could to beef-up the resume.
Any advice for those interested in pursuing this discipline?
Practice more than you think is necessary. I’m not ashamed to admit that I probably called upwards of 200 races a day when I was younger with nothing to do. One summer I had a job I could do from home, so I would spend a few hours each day just calling races using computer games. I attribute a good chunk of where I am today to my ability to practice that much.
Is there anything else with horses you’d love to learn about or try?
I think training horses would be a great challenge. Also, the marketing of horse racing, which I do a bit in now, would interest me as well. Maybe, just maybe, doing the racing secretary thing for a bit, but that’s a high-stress job.
Favourite horse memory?
Cigar going undefeated in the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic. It was my first Breeders’ Cup. I remember watching him roll past the 1/8 pole like it was yesterday.
My ultimate goal is to call races in New York. That’s where I grew-up, that’s the racing I know and love. I would also like to call the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
It’s a blast! Seriously, it’s fun. It’s work, and you have to be professional, but it’s a lot of fun.
“To get in shape to own a horse… Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice “relaxing into the fall”. Roll lithely into a ball, and spring to your feet!”
Making hotel reservations before hand is always best. Even if it is an orlando hotel or an iowa house hotel, the reservations should always be made. This courtesy should not be extended to the new york hotels only. And these hotels are certainly no less than any chicago hotel.