Popular race caller and broadcaster Larry Collmus is set for an adventure when he travels to Meydan Racecourse for the very first time to cover the March 25 $30.5 million Dubai World Cup card.
First starting out in 1985 at the age of 18, the Maryland native has experience announcing at tracks all over the East and West Coast. He joined the NBC Sports Group in 2011 as the announcer of the Triple Crown and now also calls the Breeders’ Cup when he is not in the box at Kentucky Downs or on air for FanDuel TV.
Despite his illustrious career including some trips overseas, Dubai is one place Collmus has never explored.
“I was kind of surprised when they reached out to me and asked me to do it, but I am really looking forward to it. It will be a totally different experience for me; I haven’t done too much international work,” Collmus said. “I think the only two other places internationally I’ve ever called were half a card at Wolverhampton in England several years back and I called a race in Barbados on Sandy Lane Gold Cup Day.
“I am preparing for it right now and trying to get as ready as possible to do a really good job and looking forward to the entire experience because I’ve never been to Dubai. It’s going to be a lot of fun to be able to see the sights and I get to call one of the richest days in racing in the world.”
The Dubai World Cup (G1) worth $12 million will feature last year’s winner Country Grammer , who will attempt to retain his title for trainer Bob Baffert and owners Commonwealth Thoroughbreds, WinStar Farm, and Zedan Racing Stables.
Country Grammer wins the 2022 Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse
Collmus says that getting ready for Dubai is a more extensive process than big races in North America because many competitors are coming from various places in the world and have unfamiliar names and silks. Field sizes will also likely provide another challenge as most will include 10 or more horses.
“At least with the Breeders’ Cup, I knew in advance who they were, a lot of them were local U.S. horses. In this case, you have horses from Japan, Hong Kong, Dubai, Europe, the United States; they’re coming from everywhere. Especially Japan, there are so many Japanese horses,” Collmus said.
“The first thing you need to do is find out how to pronounce everything properly and make sure you get the names right. Then you have to learn their running styles and all kinds of new sets of silks that you’ve never seen before. I think it’s more of a challenge than any of the events I’ve ever done.”
He says that he plans to head out March 18 in order to have time to become familiar with his surroundings ahead of the big day along with making flashcards and quizzing himself, which will help to quell nervousness. On the other side of the coin, being somewhat nervous often seems to lend itself to the call, which Collmus relives each year on the first Saturday in May.
“I’ve called the Kentucky Derby 12 times now and every year, the palms are just sweating, I’m pacing back and forth, doing breathing exercises…Hopefully, the nervous energy makes the call even more exciting,” Collmus said.