Popular Australian Tops Competitive World-Wide Search
Arcadia, CA (March 24, 2016) – Michael Wrona, the colorful and seasoned Australian race caller, has been named the full-time track announcer at Santa Anita Park. A 49-year-old native of Queensland, Australia, Wrona began his announcing career at age 17 in his homeland. He has spent 25 years in the United States and has been the voice of Golden Gate Fields for the last decade.
The announcement comes after auditions by Wrona, veteran Frank Mirahmadi and international announcers Craig Evans and David Fitzgerald. Mirahmadi has alternated the Santa Anita announcing duties with Wrona since the season began, while Evans and Fitzgerald were the finalists from a world-wide search that included over three dozen candidates.
“This was a much harder decision than anyone could have imagined,” said Joe Morris, SVP of West Coast Operations for The Stronach Group. “The finalists presented us with four incredible options, each a world-class announcer in his own right. In the end, as we said from the beginning, we listened to our fans, our horsemen, the media and our employees. It was an exceptionally close decision, but Michael just raised his game here at Santa Anita. We are honored to welcome him to the historic fabric of The Great Race Place. He has earned the right to make that booth his own.”
“I’m overjoyed and humbled that Santa Anita is entrusting me with a booth occupied by so few announcers in the track’s storied history,” said Wrona. “I shall try my utmost to honor the great legacy of my predecessors – each of whom was of the highest caliber. I would also like to acknowledge the unwavering support and friendship of the Golden Gate Fields management, since I first worked there in 1992.”
Santa Anita has only had four primary track announcers since it opened in 1934, though others have filled in throughout the years.
Wrona will continue to call Santa Anita’s races through the end of the Winter/Spring Season on April 10, including the $1-million Santa Anita Derby on April 9. He will begin his full-time position on May 5 when Santa Anita opens its Spring/Summer Meeting.
“While we are pleased to welcome Michael as the next Voice of The Great Race Place, this opportunity also showcased three very gifted announcers in Frank, Craig and David,” Morris added. “We encourage them to continue to seek opportunities within The Stronach Group as they become available and we look forward to the chance to work with them.”
Wrona’s replacement at Golden Gate Fields will be named in the upcoming weeks and will begin in early May.