In the revolving door that was the track announcer’s job at Betfair Hollywood Park, Vic Stauffer entered the building in 2001 and slammed the door behind him.
When the iconic Harry Henson retired in 1982 after calling races at the Inglewood track since 1959, numerous track announcers went behind the microphone until Stauffer settled in the big chair.
There is no official list, but Kip Hannan and Roger Roman, keepers of the massive Hollywood Park video archive, have assembled a best-guess tabulation of all track announcers who have called at least one race at the historic track:
Friday’s seventh race at Betfair Hollywood Park has suddenly become the hottest topic in racing.
After completing eight months of rehabilitation from life-threatening medical issues, Grade I winner Paynter is back. The 4-year-old is one of eight entered in the $62,500 allowance test at seven furlongs.
Not since Barbaro’s valiant fight to survive has there been as much public outpouring of affection for an ailing race horse.
Dan Ward, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, indicated that both Lady of Fifty and Esentepe will start in Saturday’s Grade I, $250,000 Vanity Handicap at 1 1-8 miles on Cushion Track.
Lady of Fifty is the more accomplished of the two. The 4-year-old gray daughter of After Market won the Grade II Bayakoa Handicap last Dec. 8 at Betfair Hollywood Park and was second to Open Water in the Grade II Marjorie L. Everett Handicap May 18 in her first start in three months.
Esentepe, a Group III winner in England, was extremely impressive winning an optional claimer May 9 in her Cushion Track debut. Rafael Bejarano rode both fillies last time and it is uncertain which one he will ride in the Vanity. Corey Nakatani will ride the other.
Several horses, riders and trainers with Betfair Hollywood Park connections are prominent on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes program.
The two runners who will draw the most West Coast attention are Jungle Racing, et al’s Mizdirection and William Peeples’ Let Em Shine.
Mizdirection, who is stabled with Mike Puype at Betfair Hollywood Park, won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last Nov. 3 and is on a four-race winning streak. The 5-year-old mare has been pegged the 7-2 third choice in the Grade I, $500,000 Just a Game at one mile on turf, which will go as the eighth race. She’ll leave from the number six post under jockey Mike Smith.
On his website, the first line of Adam Kitchingman’s autobiography is as unassuming as the man himself.
“I grew up on a horse farm in the mountains of Mansfield, Australia, best known for the movie ‘The Man From Snowy River.’”
The 38-year-old has led a fascinating life which has taken him from Australia, to Japan, and finally the United States.
Sahara Sky returned to his regular stall at Betfair Hollywood Park Wednesday after a triumphant victory in Monday’s Grade I Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.
“He was happy to be home,” remarked Dan Ward, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “We put him in an outside pen when he got back and he was rolling around and having a ball.”
Ward said the last time he got that excited was when Dakota Phone won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Saturday’s feature may have been called the American Handicap, but it was a pair of Europeans who stole the show.
Irish-bred Obviously won the Grade II, $150,000 contest, defeating French-bred Lucuyan by 2 1-2 lengths in the mile turf event. Their respective connections are looking forward to a rematch in the Grade I, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile June 29.
Trainer Mike Mitchell was ecstatic with Obviously’s performance. “He came out of the race great,” beamed Mitchell. “If everything looks good, he’ll go next in the Shoemaker Mile.”
The last time Gary Stevens rode at Betfair Hollywood Park, he guided Alphabet Kisses to victory in the 2005 A Gleam Invitational Handicap.
“I didn’t know that,’’ said Stevens in response to the information.
Alphabet Kisses is long retired, but Stevens is in the midst of a highly successful comeback which began in January and continues over the Memorial Day weekend. The biggest of the mounts for the Hall of Famer is the Tom Proctor-trained Marketing Mix in the Grade I, $250,000 Gamely Stakes.
Copyright © 2009-2013, Hollywood Park. All rights reserved.