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LEGENDARY ANNOUNCER DENMAN BACK FOR 2011-12 MEET, ‘VOICE OF SANTA ANITA’ SINCE 1983 ATOP HIS PROFESSION, WINTER/SPRING MEETING TO OPEN DECEMBER 26
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 14, 2011)—Trevor Denman, who aspired to be a jockey in his native Durban, South Africa, is set to embark upon his 29th anniversary year as the “Voice of Santa Anita,” when The Great Race Place opens its gates on Dec. 26.
Denman, who has called the Breeders’ Cup World Championships since 2006 and who will once again preside over the two-day extravaganza at Santa Anita next November, was first hired at Santa Anita in the fall of 1983.
An instinctive judge of equine talent, Denman’s ability to anticipate developments in a race are legendary.
“I try to treat each race individually and although I want to be sure and let our fans know what’s going on with the betting favorite, I also try to let the race develop and I just try to describe what I’m seeing,” said Denman. “I guess you could say that I’ve been blessed to have grown up with racing and I’m able to spot horses who are full of run and conversely, I can spot a horse who’s for all intents and purposes, spent.”
After calling the first five weeks of Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet, Denman flew to Churchill Downs, where he called the two-day Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 5 & 6. Since then, he and his wife, Robin, have been at their farm in Minnesota.
“We have about 110 acres here,” he said by telephone. “I’ve found that this is a great place for me to stay fresh and to re-charge my batteries, so to speak. I think everyone needs a break and for Robin and me, this works beautifully.”
Denman added that even though he’s approaching three decades high atop Santa Anita’s grandstand, he’s very much looking forward to the challenge of opening day.
“Opening day at Santa Anita is magical. The weather is clear and the mountains are strikingly beautiful. There’s so much pent-up anticipation and there’s always some new faces. The (Grade I) Malibu is always a terrific race and then there are so many other Grade I races on both the dirt and the turf throughout the meet. I’m told that our horse population is improving, so I’m optimistic that we’re headed in the right direction.”
For many years, Denman cited the 1989 Preakness Stakes, which featured a stretch-long battle between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer, as the greatest race he had ever called. That all changed in November, 2009.
“Without question, Zenyatta’s last-to-first win in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita was the most dramatic and breathtaking race I’ve ever called,” he said. “It had everything. She was undefeated and had never run against the boys, nor had she been a mile and a quarter. Her style suggested that she’d need racing luck to be able to weave through a lot of traffic with a 12-horse field and to be honest, she was so far back early, that I really didn’t think she could do it.
“Her race that day was truly one for the ages and the fact that she did it on a picturesque day with a huge crowd and a worldwide television audience, it just can’t get any better than that.”
Denman noted that in addition to Zenyatta, his all-time favorite horses include Nijinsky II and Precisionist.
He has a grown daughter, Katrina, and when Santa Anita is conducting live racing, he and his wife live in nearby San Dimas.
Santa Anita’s 75th winter/spring meeting will open on Monday, Dec. 26. First post time on opening day is 12 noon. The 79-day meet will run through April 22. For more information, visit www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.