Larry Collmus © Benoit Photo
Veteran announcer Larry Collmus, who stepped up to pinch hit for Del Mar’s longtime caller Trevor Denman during the height of the COVID 19 crisis in 2020, has been called to the plate once more. He’ll take over this time for the recently injured Denman for the majority of the track’s upcoming fall race meet starting Wednesday, November 3.
Denman, 68, suffered a painful herniated disc in his back earlier this week at his home in Minnesota when he slipped and tumbled down the stairs of his deck which were wet from early morning dew. He was readying to drive to Del Mar to follow up his return to calling at the seaside track this past summer, but his injury makes it all but impossible for him to travel.
Collmus, 55, was going to be at Del Mar anyway next week for his regular role as NBC’s caller for the Breeders’ Cup, which will be presented for the second time at Del Mar on Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6. He’s now agreed to take on the Del Mar role from opening day right though the season’s finish on Sunday, November 28 with the exception of three days (November 12-14) when he’ll be on a previously planned holiday.
Collmus, who has called races for 37 years and for the past decade has been the voice of not only the Breeders’ Cup but also the Triple Crown races on NBC, drew rave reviews for his Del Mar debut last year at both its summer and fall meets. He’ll be a busy man on the two Breeders’ Cup Days when he’ll call five undercard races and five Breeders’ Cup races Friday, then come back Saturday to be the voice for three more undercard events and nine BC races, including the $6-million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Denman had celebrated his 50th year of race calling this past summer and he told Del Mar’s CEO Joe Harper in his explanatory message that he was “devastated” by this latest turn of events.
“I have never missed a day’s racing in 50 years and now I have had to miss racing two years in a row because of the virus and this freak accident,” he said. “I am devastated, but this is completely out of my control.”
Del Mar will call on its back-up announcer John Lies to handle the three days that Collmus will be away. Lies has called at various racetracks around the country and has filled in smartly at Del Mar on several occasions previously.
First post daily at Del Mar will be 12:30 p.m. for the majority of the meeting. For the Breeders’ Cup days it will be 11:55 a.m. on Friday and 10:15 a.m. on Saturday. The one other exception is Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, when it will be 11 a.m.