Conan O’Brien brought fun and humor to the Santa Anita Park today, October 25, when took over the announcer’s booth to call the second race. He joined Trevor Denman, the usual professional talent behind the mike, and with some quick training really called the race. And he did add a bit of the O’Brien subtle wit. If you did not get to read Rucki’s earlier story about the race call by O’Brien, give it a read and don’t miss the “racy” video.
As the horse race progressed, the small field stretched out and only two horses were engaged in the battle to win. O’Brien left his audience mystified at the end of the race – who exactly won the race?
O’Brien’s efforts did drive home a message to anyone who has never given thought about just how much work and talent goes into an announcer’s job. The person must be quick, memorize silk colors, learn to pronounce names and generally feel comfortable thinking on his or her feet. No small accomplishment when the horses are forever changing positions, run in close proximity to each other, and the more thought that goes into this list, the longer the requirements to be good at the job becomes.
As O’Brien took over for Denman, the six horses in his race had easy names. Nothing too unusual or weird, and O’Brien did OK with Sarangani’s name.
The horse leading for most of the second race, Blue Collar Boy, received a lot of mike time. O’Brien hollered into the mike, I’m seeing a bunch of horses following Blue Collar Boy. All horses look alike when you're not around horses a lot."
He did let go with a few memorable one liners. Here’s a short list:
I'm not seeing too well because my eyelashes are up against the binoculars and it's blocking my view.
If you're going to have idiot celebrities come in and call a race, you can't have two guys in all blue and two guys in all white.
The jockeys' bottoms are in the air, which is the way that jockeys ride horses. Bottoms high, that's the way to go, boys.
Aren’t these great? O’Brien struggled a bit whenever he was naming horses’ names or numbers. He gave the sense that he was putting his memory resources into recall mode. Throughout, however, he put enthusiasm and excitement into his call during the stretch run.
His realization that the race was heard in outside of the United States in Britain genuinely shocked him. O’Brien quipped, "We've angered them again. They're already mad about the NSA [National Security Agency] and now they're mad about this."
Races are over quickly and announcers talk fast, think fast and get one chance to get it right. Race calling may never be anything that O’Brien will want to repeat. Yet he gave it a try, it was immensely entertaining, and for one race it was fine.
Said Denman about O’Brien’s performance,
You will never, ever get any race call like that in the history of horse racing.
As the results of the race posted, it was Knucklebuster beating out Blue Collar Boy by a half length. Knucklebuster paid out $18 for the win.
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