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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By John Pricci

AUG. 2, 2019—Trusted sources have informed HorseRaceInsider that Michael Wrona will take over as full time announcer at Los Alamitos Racetrack beginning in 2020.

Wrona is expected to call both Thoroughbred and Quarter-Horse races at the Orange County track. Long-time racecaller and analyst Ed Burgart will be retiring at the end of this year.

Los Alamitos owner Dr. Ed Allred was “strongly urged” to hire Wrona by Thoroughbred owner/breeder Paul Reddam, who raced 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

Reddam and former Santa Anita announcer Wrona have maintained a close friendship through the years.

The loan company Reddam founded, CashCall, sponsors the CashCall Futurity, which originally was run at Hollywood Park. Currently, the final Grade 1 of the juvenile season is held at Los Alamitos in December.

Parenthetically, a federal judge ordered Reddam’s loan company to pay a $10.3 million fine in 2018 for violating consumer protection laws.

Wrona has called Thoroughbred races at Los Alamitos in the past but was replaced by Bobby Neuman, the longtime Calder Race Course announcer before its owner, Churchill Downs Inc., sold the racing dates to The Stronach Group.

Neuman has called the races at the Los Al Thoroughbred summer meet since 2016, and filled in for Burgart for six weeks as the Quarter-Horse announcer earlier this year. Neuman could not be reached for comment.

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10 Responses

  1. Mal, I’m a fan of both announcers, but somehow I have a hard time “hearing” Wrona call races at Los Al, especially on the QH side.

    Thought Bobby was a perfect fit out there and if I had my choice, he would get the nod…strikes just the right tone IMHO.

  2. Yes, I do not watch many QH races but thought Burgart was excellent. Maybe my liking Wrona is a by-product of enjoying Trevor Denman so much. Hard to beat his, “they’re all in line,” or, “and away they go.” Imbriale, Mirahmadi, Colmus, the man at Parx for what seems an eternity are all great. Colmus call of American Pharoah winning Belmont amazingly good at the wire, “a horse of a lifetime!” Remember once cashing on 2nd floor of Clubhouse at Aqueduct during a pari-mutuel strike. I handed the winning ticket to the person and when he handed me the cash he said, “congratulations.” I knew that voice. It was Marshal Cassidy filling in during the strike. The man who called at Rockingham Park was a voice right out of the movie, The Sting. Jim Hannon, really good old school call. “$500,000.00 on Lucky Dan.” I told you to “place” Lucky Dan. Tough beat.

    1. “That horse is going to run second!” Right on, Mal. Might try to catch “The Sting” on Netflix this weekend. And if you’re a move buff, check on the Play-Tone “Movies” series on CNN; about two hours on every decade. Great fun, instructive, too.

      As stated, just can’t associate Wrona’s voice–I really admire his work–in a short, QH race, not that I watch many of those…

  3. Bad look, Doc Allred! Bobby Neuman got screwed. Would have been a seamless transition. Loyalty is out of style. Wrona calling QHs is a proven non-commodity. puke.

    1. Perhaps Los Al wanted the foreign accent to add a touch of international flair. You’ve got to admit it is pretty cool. “Zenyatta has sprouted wings…” Watched her last race at Big A outside in the dark (Breeder’s Cup Classic loss to Blame). After the race I got a bit emotional and made a comment to a woman next to me. Her response, “I’m glad she lost (Zenyatta).” Only in NY, kids, only in NY.

  4. Aron, I fear you may be right. My source insisted a connection was between Dr. Allred and an influential race sponsor, and the Wrona-Reddam friendship that was responsible for this decision. I too thought the Burgart/Neuman tradition made the most since. Neuman has done excellent work the last three years. Who said life was fair? Actually, no one…

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