Visiiting Emerald Downs' Robert Geller
One of the highlights of the season was meeting up with a former student, George Cottrell, who worked for me in my library at the community college. He’s been a race fan since his high school days and now writes for the Daily Racing Form. Two weeks ago he arranged to take us up to the sixth floor to the track announcer and race caller’s booth. Rob Geller was born in England, moved to Australia when he was two. He came to Emerald Downs after a six-year stint in Hong Kong where he was the race caller in English. There is also a race caller in Mandarin. When Emerald Downs closes he will call races at a track in New Mexico called Sunland Park. We had a wonderful conversation for over a half-hour with Rob, during which he would intermittently switch on the mike to make announcements concerning the upcoming race. I wondered how he memorized the horses’ names. When they were warming up on the back stretch he took a look at them through binoculars, matched the names with the colored and numbered saddle cloths, and was ready to call the race. He’s been calling races for seventeen years or more so he surely knows how to have the card in hand. And as usual he did a wonderful job of it. We appreciated George’s effort to get us an invitation to the booth where few people get to go and to Rob for his warm welcome and the time he spent with us.
Afterward George showed us the suites in which people more wealthy than I can party and enjoy the races at the same time. We found an empty suite and watched the sixth race from high above the finish line before returning to our grandstand seats.