At a glance
Upcoming International Heritage Series days, hosted each Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course:
Today : Italian-American Day
Aug. 6: Irish-American Day
Aug. 13: African-American Day
Aug. 20: Asian-American Day
Aug. 27: Saratoga Heritage Day
Despite a quarter-century of calling horse racing in Panama, Luis Grandison took a job as a security guard when he moved to the United States five years ago.
Two years ago, he landed a gig interviewing jockeys and others in Spanish for the New York Racing Association. But early this year he returned to where he belonged — in the booth, calling live racing in Spanish.
Grandison, 57, calls races at Saratoga Race Course, Aqueduct and Belmont.
NYRA said it’s the first racetrack operator in the United States to offer live Spanish-language calls on a daily basis.
“Our sport has a very large and dedicated following in the Hispanic and Latino communities,” NYRA President and CEO Chris Kay said when Grandison was hired. “This important initiative will help enhance and personalize the guest experience for our Spanish-speaking fan base.”
Grandison’s calls are available through NYRA.com and numerous other TV and online platforms.
“A lot of people all over the world listen,” said Grandison, adding that he’s received a lot of positive comments after calling races at Aqueduct and Belmont.
Many of those comments came from the significant number of Latinos working in the horse racing industry.
“It’s a big number,” Grandison said. “I think the [Spanish-language calls] will work out very well.”
Last Tuesday, Grandison called the second race at Saratoga in Spanish across the NYRA platforms in honor of Latino-America Day.
The day was part of the International Heritage Series lineups held each Wednesday at the track that incorporate food, music, crafts, dance and other entertainment.
Upcoming days will celebrate Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, African-Americans and Asian-Americans. A final Heritage Day will mark the history and culture of Saratoga Springs.
Kay called it “a weekly celebration of worldwide culture.”
“Every week they are celebrating a different culture,” Grandison said. “I think it’s great.”