Sheryl Stefanowicz -- Nine Stories a Day

The following is excerpted from Women in Racing: In Their Own Words. Published September 2001 from Eclipse Press.

I think the chart caller's job is to tell nine stories a day. A story for every race. Each race is a story unto itself, and that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to be exact with the facts, but trying to tell a story.

You have to concentrate when the race is being run. Then you can go back and watch the taped replay of the race -- you're looking for something you might have missed or maybe taking a closer look at something you thought you saw. So you zero in on that. What you are trying to do is to help the public in terms of what you can tell them, positive or negative, about that race. We dissect the race; we're watching each horse and what it does, and watching the group as a whole.

Does the betting public have any concept of what I do? I don't think so. They probably think it's a computer going boop, boop, boop, churning out the charts. When I started out, I don't think I thought much about having a responsibility to the bettors -- you know, to give them the best information I could. And I didn't think that much about it when I was going through that practice time before my charts were being printed. But when that happened, from the first day, when I realized that people were paying good money to read my charts and the past-performance lines they went into, well, I took it very seriously. I still do, believe me. What I'm doing is telling what the horses did last time, so that hopefully the bettors can get an idea of what they might do next time. We try to give them the best information possible.

If somebody I meet finds out I work at the track, they always think I'm a mutuel clerk. If I try to explain what I do, usually they have no clue. They have no concept of all the cogs in the wheel at the racetrack. Sometimes, after I've said I'm a chart caller, and they ask me again what I do, I'll take their program or their Racing Form and show them the information on each horse, and I'll say, "That's what I do. All this stuff here and all this stuff there, that's what I do."

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