Tioga Downs will begin the 2017 racing season in less than a week, and when it does it will be with a new announcer. Taking over the mic this year will be John Horne, Jr. John has been an employee at Tioga for the past 3 years, working as an assistant to the Judges as well as filling in as the track’s back-up announcer. John has also filled in at several other tracks around the state as well as our sister track Vernon Downs.
John, who originally hailed from Middletown, NY, now lives with his wife Richi and son JT in Worcester, NY. John comes to us from the Baseball Hall of Fame where he still currently works as the Coordinator of Rights & Reproductions, a position he’s held for the last 21 years.
“We’ve watched John grow as an announcer these past few years. He’s called all sorts of other sports, predominantly baseball, but his love for the sport of harness racing has fueled his desire to become a track announcer,” said Jason Bluhm, Director of Racing at Tioga. “I can remember when he interviewed for the Judge’s assistant position a few years ago, one that only offers few hours and not much of a chance at making any serious money. I remember looking at his application and seeing he lived over and hour and a half away and thought to myself there’s no way this guy will want to drive here every day for these few hours. When I asked him about it, John replied that he loved the sport and his ultimate goal was to become an announcer and here we are today watching him realize that dream”.
Horne replaces former Tioga Downs race caller James Witherite. Witherite was the announcer for 3 years. “He (Witherite) will be a hard act to follow,” said Horne. “He has been my mentor since day one. I wouldn’t be here without him,” added Horne. Horne will call his first race of the season on May 6th at 5:00pm.