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Collmus out as NYRA track announcer; Longtime backup Imbriale named replacement

Collmus out as NYRA track announcer; Longtime backup Imbriale named replacement

Longtime backup John Imbriale will assume full-time race-calling duties
Collmus out as NYRA track announcer; Longtime backup Imbriale named replacement
Larry Collmus, left, John Imbriale, right
Photographer: Erica Miller (left); Provided (right)

OZONE PARK — After just five years, Larry Collmus is out as the primary track announcer for the New York Racing Association.

NYRA announced on Wednesday that John ImBriale, who has worked at NYRA in a variety of broadcast jobs since 1979, will become the full-time track announcer at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.

He has served as Collmus' backup since Collmus was hired in 2014 and follows in a long line of legendary race callers that includes Tom Durkin, Marshall Cassidy, Chic Anderson, Dave Johnson and Fred Capossela.

"John Imbriale is a central part of the fabric of thoroughbred racing in New York," NYRA CEO and President Dave O'Rourke said in a NYRA release. "Johnny I's high level of professionalism and flawless delivery are well known to horseplayers and racing fans, and we congratulate him on becoming the voice of NYRA. We would like to thank Larry Collmus for his many contributions to NYRA and wish him the very best as he takes the next step in his career."

"I'd like to thank the New York Racing Association for five great years calling memorable races at these wonderful venues," Collmus said in the release. "I will certainly miss the people and places that make NYRA so special, especially the passionate racing fans at Saratoga, but it's the right time for me to move on to the next challenge while continuing my work with NBC Sports."

Imbriale's tenure with NYRA dates to 1979 when he won a New York Daily News contest which gave him the opportunity to call a race and work with the NYRA press office. In 1990, Imbriale became Tom Durkin's backup and has since been part of NYRA's race-calling team at all three tracks.

Along the way, he took on other responsibilities at NYRA, working with Harvey Pack on the popular "Inside Racing" program, and also behind the scenes in a variety of roles within NYRA TV, most recently as NYRA's Director of Television Production.

"In a sense, this is a job for which I've been preparing for years," said Imbriale, who celebrated his 40th anniversary with NYRA on Nov. 5. "I've been so lucky to be surrounded by incredible race callers during my career. I learned from all of them and these lessons live with me to this day. I'm humbled by the trust placed in me by NYRA and look forward to calling races for the best fans in the sport."

Collmus joined NYRA in 2014 and called the last two Triple Crowns: American Pharoah in 2015, whose victory ended a 37-year drought, and Justify in 2018.

Imbriale will officially assume his new duties effective immediately. 

Reach Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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