Churchill Downs announcer leaving for New York
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Larry Collmus' tenure as track announcer at Churchill Downs barely got past the starting gate.
Collmus, who took over in the spring as race caller at the home of the Kentucky Derby, on Wednesday accepted the job as track announcer for the New York Racing Association, starting in the spring of 2015. He will stay on at Churchill for the upcoming September and fall meets.
''I'm trading one dream job for another,'' Collmus said.
Collmus, 47, will start calling races on the New York circuit in April, the final month of the Aqueduct Racetrack spring meet, the NYRA said in its announcement. He will announce the Belmont Park spring and fall meets and the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course.
Collmus has three nearly decades of experience calling races, and his crisp cadence is familiar to horse racing fans nationwide.
Collmus will continue his role announcing Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup races for NBC Sports, the NYRA said. He'll also continue his winter role calling races at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
In New York, Collmus will succeed Tom Durkin, the longtime voice of the New York racing circuit.
''The New York Racing Association was privileged to have one of the greatest voices in professional sports calling our races for more than two decades,'' NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay said. ''With our addition of Larry Collmus, we have another.''
His departure means Churchill Downs starts another search for a race caller. Collmus' successor will be the Louisville track's third announcer in three years.
''We thank him for great service and wish him the best,'' track spokesman John Asher said of Collmus. ''We certainly expected his service at Churchill Downs to be longer when he came aboard.''
The New York racing circuit job offers many more racing dates to call than the post at Churchill.
The Churchill job offers the track announcer the chance to call the Kentucky Derby for the 160,000-plus people at the historic track, as well as for online and simulcast viewers.
But Collmus already calls the Run for the Roses for NBC Sports.
Churchill has already started its search for a new announcer, Asher said.
''We're familiar with the field and looking forward to finding a person who is a great fit, not only for the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs but ... for this community and this region,'' Asher said.