For One Race, Oaklawn Announcer Steps Away

For One Race, Oaklawn Announcer Steps Away
Photo: Jeff Coady/Coady Photography
Terry Wallace (right) with Frank Mirahmadi in Oaklawn Park announcer's booth.

Oaklawn Park track announcer Terry Wallace stepped away from the microphone for the fifth race Jan. 28, ending a streak of calling 20,191 consecutive races at the Arkansas track.

Wallace relinquished his duties and turned the microphone over to Frank Mirahmadi and enjoyed his very first Oaklawn race among the fans on the apron. The race was won by Heavenly Prize. Wallace, who has been track announcer for 37 years, was back in the announcer’s booth for the sixth race.

Mirahmadi, who currently calls the Northern California fair circuit and is an analyst for TVG, has been retained as Oaklawn’s backup announcer for the 2011 season and was in town to familiarize himself with the facility. He previously served as track announcer at Hialeah Park and Louisiana Downs.

“For 37 years and counting I’ve had the best job in the world, calling races at Oaklawn Park,” said Wallace. “I’m very comfortable in knowing that my record isn’t going to be broken any time soon, so I’m thinking it might be fun to experience the track I love so much from a different perspective. With that said, I don’t plan on going anywhere for a while, but it is nice knowing I can step out of the booth from time to time.”

“There is no better ambassador for Oaklawn Park than Terry Wallace,” said Oaklawn Park assistant general manager of racing David Longinotti. “We are very proud of his accomplishment and felt that he deserved what most other racetrack announcers have—a backup for emergencies. We also felt that by giving Terry the opportunity to leave the booth every once in a while, we could utilize his popularity with our fans in other ways.”

“It was an incredible honor to call a race at Oaklawn Park,” said Mirahmadi. “Terry is legendary and one of the classiest people in horse racing. This opportunity is most certainly one of the major highlights of my career.”

Oaklawn Park has submitted an application with the Guinness Book of World Records because it is believed that Wallace’s 20,191 calls is a world record. Wallace hit the 20,000th race milestone with his call of the third event March 25, 2010. The mayor at the time declared it “Terry Wallace Day” in Hot Springs and he received congratulatory letters from Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and former President Bill Clinton, who was raised in Hot Springs.

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