By Michael Fenrich
Larry Collmus, the track announcer for New York Racing Association (NYRA), will not be back. In his several years at NYRA, Collmus made history calling two Triple Crown winning races, American Pharoah and Justify.
To replace Collmus NYRA has stayed in house and made John Imbriale the full time track announcer. Imbriale has done so much in 40 years at NYRA. Anthony Stabile, who hosts the popular Breakfast at Belmont program, also helps with the track announcing.
During the cold winter months at Aqueduct, where the crowds are sparse and the seagulls fly around, Imbriale has filled in as track announcer for the legendary NYRA track announcer Tom Durkin and also for Collmus.
After all of those times as back up announcer now Imbriale will be full time.
“The main difference in having the job full time is that it is every day and for a longer duration. The preparation and the race calls will be the same but I will get to call bigger races with better known horses,” said Imbriale.
“I’m looking forward to the daily challenge as well as the Belmont Stakes and all the excitement at Saratoga,” added Imbriale.
As for advice to future horse racing track announcers, Imbriale shares this to them. “Advice would be to be yourself. Create your own style with your own phrases and inflections.”
Jockey Mike Smith, who won the Triple Crown with Justify and is in the Hall of Fame, had positive thoughts on Imbriale. “Really deserving of this opportunity a great man as well as a great racing announcer,” said Smith.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has had success on the national stage and calls the NYRA tracks his home, also speaks highly of Imbriale. “John is a great ambassador for NYRA, and a model of consistency,” added Pletcher.
NYRA stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes, who gets all of the majestic horses to run at the NYRA and for Imbriale to announce them, also is grateful for Imbriale.
“I’ve known John for close to 25 years now and I’m extremely thrilled for him to be getting this opportunity. He’s put in his time and it’s well deserved. He’s a very smooth and polished announcer who very rarely makes a mistake and has the right amount of excitement in his calls when it is warranted, ” said Byrnes.
From filling in at Aqueduct, Imbriale will now be the trifecta full time announcer for all three NYRA tracks: Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga.
For more information go to nyra.com.