Luis Grandison in his booth at Belmont Park.
Recently, I was working in the press box at Belmont Park and pulled out my binoculars to watch the first race on the card. It was a 6-furlong claiming race for 3-year-olds and older. The press box is usually extremely quiet, so the writers on deadlines can get their wits about them. To the right of me were several offices overlooking the track and a door was slightly cracked open. I could hear a rhythmic call of the race and realized that it wasn’t Belmont’s Tom Durkin. As “Handy Stan” and “Inmyfathersimage” dueled down the stretch, the racecaller rose to the challenge with pitch and excitement. I couldn’t understand a single word but it was exhilarating. I realized that the race track caller was calling the race in Spanish.
I knocked on the door and met the most gracious and charming man. His name is Luis Grandison. He hails from Panama. Now 57 years old, he is the first U.S. racetrack announcer to provide live calls in Spanish - for Belmont Park, Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct racetrack. He originally was a part-time translator for NYRA with the Spanish speaking jockeys.
Dan Silver, NYRA’s director of television and interactive platforms, said: “Luis has been an outstanding addition to the NYRA TV broadcast team. He brings 25 years of experience calling races in Panama at El Hipódromo Presidente Remón, and he provides professional and enthusiastic race calls to the Spanish speaking audience. His calls are available on-track (at the 2nd floor viewing area), online at NYRA.com and with NYRARewards.com and throughout our simulcast network, both domestic and abroad.”
LUIS GRANDISON AT WORK
Grandison said he called his first race in Panama in 1978. He studied journalism in school and has worked extensively traveling internationally. He often receives messages from his international audiences and is enjoying being recognized around the NYRA tracks. Grandison is honored to be the first track announcer in the United States to offer Spanish calls on a regular basis.
I asked him if there were any differences between calling the race in English versus Spanish. He said: “In the Latin and Spanish Culture we like a lot of emotion, so I try to put a lot of passion into each call.”
I asked him if he has a favorite horse. He said: “Of course, right now it is California Chrome.”
Grandison is very excited to be calling the Belmont Stakes in Spanish for NYRA.
“It is a big race,” he said. “I am very happy to see that we have a horse trying to get the Triple Crown.”
In the NYRA video “Luis Grandison Makes History,” Chief Executive Officer Chris Kay says: “To have a Spanish speaking racecaller is important for all of our fans that have Spanish as their native language; not only the fans here in New York, but also for the fans across the country, and in Latin America and South America.”
I didn’t need a translator to understand Luis Grandison’s race calls for the rest of the day. I could hear the enthusiasm in his voice as he brought the excitement of the races to life for his audience. His passion and his personality is a wonderful addition to our racing world. Felicitaciones!!