Lifelong horse racing fan Matt Dinerman was named Emerald Downs' track announcer in 2015 at age 22, at the time the youngest announcer in the country. The San Diego native now works as the announcer at Golden Gate Fields near San Francisco, where he also provides pre-race insight and analysis. Get to know him and his thoughts on racing and life in this fun Q&A.
What I do for a living: Track announcer at Golden Gate Fields. I also do the handicapping analysis on our track feed, appearing on air between races to offer insight and picks.
What I like about Thoroughbred racing: I love the horses; they are amazing animals. I love visiting them on the backstretch and watching them compete. Seeing a good stretch run never gets old and watching a big race is as thrilling as it gets (and so is calling a big race!). I also enjoy meeting people in the racing community who share such a strong passion for the sport and the animals. There are so many good people in this business and it’s always fun to meet, interact with, and get to know these people on a personal and professional level.
If I wasn’t in my current job, I would be: Trying to pursue a career in radio.
Best advice to someone considering becoming a Thoroughbred owner: Always put the horses first and make sure you have the money to do it so you can pay your bills.
Should the Breeders’ Cup rotate from coast to coast or have a permanent home? Rotate coast to coast. It is good to give different venues and different towns/places a chance to hold it.
My top three favorite racetracks in order: Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar, Emerald Downs
Most influential person in my career: My mom and my dad. They taught me so much on not only how to be professional in the business world but on how to be a good human being. Being sincere, genuine, and a hard worker transfers well into any aspect of life.
My out-of-the-box idea for Thoroughbred racing: I don’t know if it’s an “out-of-the-box idea” but United States racing absolutely needs to have stewards conversations with jockeys and other racing personnel recorded during inquiries and objections. At the very least have the conversation recorded and then posted on an online platform. For everyone who invests money in this sport, they deserve transparency and should be able to listen in.
College or pro football: New England Patriots: all my family are from Massachusetts and I grew up rooting for them. I used to love the Chargers but that changed once they moved to Los Angeles.
Other sports/teams I follow: Anaheim Ducks (hockey), Patriots (football), Oakland Raiders (football: only because I live in the Bay Area now)
My favorite athletes of all time: Michael Phelps, Manny Pacquiao, Ronaldo, James Rodriguez, Ted Williams, Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky
What book(s) I am reading or have recently read: I haven’t read a book since last year. I need to go to a bookstore.
Favorite magazines: I don’t read magazines unless I’m waiting in a doctor’s office.
Hobbies away from Thoroughbred racing: I like to run, hike, go to the beach, watch movies, bake, and play video games.
Favorite movies: “Zero Dark Thirty,” “American Sniper,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Hangover,” “The Incredibles”
Favorite TV shows I watch: “Family Guy,” “Shark Tank,” “Dateline”
Favorite foods: Bananas, watermelon, grilled cheese with tomato soup, chicken parmesan, spaghetti with meatballs, Caesar salad and brownies
Favorite vacation spot: San Diego because I was born and raised there and there is no place like home. It doesn’t hurt that the weather is always great in San Diego and there are always things to do. My family and some good friends still live there, too, and I always have a great time.
Favorite musician/band: Imagine Dragons
Favorite actor: Paul Giamatti: He’s a great entertainer and super funny.
I’d like to have dinner with the following three people inside racing: Bob Baffert, Jon White, and Tim Ritvo
I’d like to have dinner with the following three people outside of racing: Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, and Daymond John
Best racetrack food can be found at: Tough call. The Emerald Downs turf club food is pretty terrific so I’ll give them the nod.
Accomplishment I am most proud of: Landing the announcing gigs at Emerald Downs and Golden Gate Fields. I am very proud that I pegged something I really wanted to do in life, went for it and succeeded. I am extremely lucky to have been given the shot to do something I love, though, and there are a lot of people to thank for that.
My philosophy on life: Follow the Golden Rule: Treat the others the way you would want to be treated. Find something you’re good at and get really good at it. If you love what you do you won’t work a day in your life. Surround yourself with people who treat you right, are intelligent and bring the best out of you. Keep an open mind. And finally, smile and be happy because every day is a blessing.
Things I collect: Rubber ducks: I have about 80 small rubber ducks in my announcer’s booth.
Favorite charities: American Heart Association, Alzheimer’s Association, Goodwill, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wounded Warrior Project, and Red Cross
Favorite authors: I don’t have any favorite authors; whatever book looks good I go for it.
Favorite animal other than a horse: Dogs … a man’s best friend!
Favorite non-Thoroughbred racing sports event I have attended: Any live hockey game … hockey players are incredible athletes and the games are always exciting.
Three words that define what Thoroughbred racing means to me: Electrifying, analytical, fun
Top three fashion brands you prefer to wear: Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Nike … I’m pretty simple.
Favorite month of the year: July, I love the summertime. It’s also my birthday month.
What apps are on your phone: Shazam, Angry Birds, SnakeVsBlock, Uber and Uber Eats, HorseRacesNow. Also “SkyView Lite” because I love to gaze at stars. With this app, I put my phone up to see what stars and constellations I am looking at.
Favorite summer cocktail: I don’t drink much but I do enjoy watermelon margaritas.
Favorite winter cocktail: Quite a few times, on a cold wintery night, I’ve had this drink called the cocoa Buie II and it’s very good.
Favorite all-time racehorse: Zenyatta. What separated Zenyatta from the rest was the show she put on for the fans. Newcomers and hardcore fans all sat in the grandstand and saw the same thing, which was an amazing athlete, and everyone truly appreciated it. She moved the needle for the sport and transcended Thoroughbred racing.
Favorite racehorse currently competing: Catalina Cruiser: he’s a star on the rise.
Favorite international racing event: Gotta be Royal Ascot. It looks like a phenomenal event and obviously it’s fun to watch world-class horses like that competing.
Three ways to attract more fans to the sport: 1. Improve marketing significantly. We need to amp up our marketing efforts as we are well behind compared to other sports 2. Make the races a multi-faceted event. Newcomers, especially millennials, want to be A PART of the event. We need to make horse racetracks an entertainment venue. Times have changed. In other words, in order to get new fans out to the track, we may have to lure them in through other events first. When I worked at Emerald Downs in Washington, they got 14,000 people for corgi races and 12,000 for wiener dog races. There’s a very strong possibility some of those people who attend the races for the “other” event will pay attention to the horse races, have fun, and will want to come back. 3. Find a way to make it easier to teach new people to handicap. I’ve found some new people find it too time consuming to learn how to handicap. How do we keep people engaged when teaching them how to handicap our sport so they can learn and eventually turn into handicappers and horseplayers without getting frustrated and intimidated? It’s a challenge.
What do you drive for a car? 2015 Mercedes Benz C300 sedan. I bought it last month, actually. It’s a beautiful car.
What’s your favorite gym exercise? I enjoy doing cardio to stay fit so going on the treadmill and taking a nice run while listing to some music is fun for me.
Who will win the Super Bowl this year? New England Patriots. It’s hard to stop Tom Brady, Belichick, and “Gronk” these days.
Esports: Yay or nay? YAY: Madden, FIFA, MLB The Show … good stuff.
Favorite restaurant: Il Fornaio. I LOVE Italian food.
Last TV series you binge-watched was: “Breaking Bad.” Great show.