Yesterday track announcer Darin Zoccali called the races at Tioga Downs. Darin has called races there and has on occasion served as back up track announcer at the Meadowlands. Instead of calling in a marquee track announcer for a big day of racing, Tioga Downs decided to let Zoccali call the races.
To say he was more than adequate would be an understatement. Darin called the races accurately, got the excitement conveyed into the races and allowed horseplayers and fans to have a race call which was second to none. In fact, if this was the day of radio or sitting in OTB offices, fans could have pictured the races in their head without the picture.
Here is his call in the two big races at Tioga yesterday:
The Bettor's Delight (the sound is a little off, don't know if it is my laptop or the replay). The live call was clear.
The Artiscape (sound off a little again; may be my laptop). I did think for a moment we had a replay of the Aussie track announcer who lost his voice during a race, but Darin came back for the next race no time for a drink of water during a race).
This may have been a breakthrough day for Darin. As far as I am concerned, there is no need to bring in guest track announcers at Tioga. Just have Darin call the races.
Since I showed the two stakes races at Tioga Downs yesterday, there was another stakes race of significance yesterday, with the Maxie Lee Final at Chester. For those who don't know, Maxie Lee was a popular African-American trainer/driver on the old Liberty Bell/Brandywine circuit. It is fitting that Maxie Lee is remembered with a stakes race named after him.
Speaking of track announcers, James Witherite, another young track announcer calls the races at Chester Downs and he too can hold his own against the most experienced track announcers. We have some new turks rising to the top of the announcer ranks.