Collmus will keep calling big horse races for NBC

AP News
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Posted: May 02, 2016 12:40 PM
Collmus will keep calling big horse races for NBC

NEW YORK (AP) — His voice already belongs to history, and now Larry Collmus has another five years to see if he gets to call another Triple Crown.

NBC Sports recently signed the race caller to a five-year contract extension. Financial terms were not available.

Collmus joined NBC in 2011. It was his voice millions of racing fans heard when American Pharoah won last year's Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

The end of his exhilarating call went this way: "And here it is! The 37-year wait is over! American Pharoah is finally the one! American Pharoah has won the Triple Crown!"

"Luckily," Collmus recalled, "the words came out the way I wanted them to."

After calling his first Kentucky Derby for NBC, Collmus said he thought, "no way it can get better than this."

In 2012, I'll Have Another won the Derby and Preakness but was retired the day before the Belmont because of an injury. No Triple try that year, but in 2014, Collmus was ready for California Chrome's attempt that came up short in the Belmont, which was won by Tonalist.

"He's a furlong from immortality," Collmus said excitedly as California Chrome tried to rally. "He's up on the outside of Commissioner. Here's Wicked Strong in the center of the track. Commissioner. California Chrome on the outside. Tonalist ... It won't be a Triple Crown this year."

And then American Pharoah came along, and Collmus' TV call will live on with Chic Anderson's Triple Crown calls of Affirmed (1978), Seattle Slew (1977) and Secretariat (1973).

"Nothing in my race-calling career could ever compare to that," he said of calling a Triple Crown.

As for Saturday's Derby, Collmus figures, what's not to like about Nyquist?

"It still seems like there are a lot of doubters," said Collmus, who called the unbeaten colt's win in the Florida Derby. "He's really been the dominant force in the 3-year-old division, and in Florida he wasn't even the favorite. He's always found a way to win. There's really no reason not to like him."

Collmus' call will be streamed live by NBC Sports Live Extra, which will have a camera in his booth at Churchill Downs.

The 49-year-old Collmus also is the track announcer for the New York Racing Association, calling races at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga from April-October, and for Gulfstream Park in Florida from December-March. He was hired by NYRA in 2015, replacing longtime announcer Tom Durkin. He's been at Gulfstream Park since 2007.

Collmus' race-calling talents have taken him all over the country. He started at Bowie Race Track in Maryland when he was 18 and recalls being "nervous as can be." He's also been in the announcer booths at the Birmingham Turf Club, Golden Gate Fields, Bay Meadows, Suffolk Downs, Monmouth Park and Churchill Downs.

"Calling the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup for NBC has been the thrill of a lifetime," Collmus said. "For me to know I'll have the privilege of calling racing in the future is just fantastic."

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