If there is a common thread that links my favourite race calls, the ones I can’t help but go back and listen to over and over again, it’s the fact that they underscore the emotion of horse racing. I love a race call that makes it clear that something incredible happened. I love when a race caller who has been in the game for many, many years can’t help but get swept away in the moment and let their sense of wonder shine through in the call.
This brings me to a maiden special weight at Hawthorne in October of 2008. Donnaguska, a first time starter, basically walked out of the gate. She dropped back over two dozen lengths early in the six-furlong race, “far, far back” from the rest of the pack. Eventually, though, she started to run…and, run fast.
This call is even more exciting to listen to if you’re familiar with Peter Galassi’s style. Galassi is one of my favourite race callers of all because his style is so calm and understated. He doesn’t feel the need to use his call to inject superfluous drama into a race. He clearly and confidently explains what’s going on in the race, and lets the horses bring the excitement to the race. Exclamations like he made in the final furlong of this race are few and far between, which makes the call of the stretch run all the more compelling.