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Conan O'Brien calls horse race at SA

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - Conan O'Brien brought his humor to the announcing booth on Friday at Santa Anita, calling a race that likely left fans wondering exactly which horse had won.

The late night comic took over from veteran caller Trevor Denman for the second race. O'Brien didn't have to pronounce any tongue twisters among the six horses running a mile on the dirt. He even smoothly handled the favorite's name, Sarangani.

That was the easy part.

Squinting through binoculars to describe what was unfolding proved much tougher in a sport that has its own unique lingo.

''I'm seeing a bunch of horses following Blue Collar Boy,'' O'Brien shouted. ''All horses look alike when you're not around horses a lot.''

He described the starting gate as ''the white thing.''

Later, he breathlessly told the crowd, ''I'm not seeing too well because my eyelashes are up against the binoculars and it's blocking my view.''

O'Brien admitted that he was thoroughly confused trying to identify the horses by the color of the jockeys' silks or ''costumes,'' as he called them.

''If you're going to have idiot celebrities come in and call a race, you can't have two guys in all blue and two guys in all white,'' he said. ''It's not fair.''

O'Brien said he had prepared by memorizing the numbers on the horses' saddle cloths. Denman told him minutes before the race that isn't how it's done.

''I had to completely forget everything,'' he said. ''It's like being told seconds before the SAT that it's going to be in German. I was horrified.''

O'Brien also got thrown for a loop when he was informed that his call would be broadcast overseas to tracks that carry Santa Anita's races, including Britain.

''We've angered them again,'' he joked. ''They're already mad about the NSA (National Security Agency) and now they're mad about this.''

During the race he told the crowd, ''The jockeys' bottoms are in the air, which is the way that jockeys ride horses. Bottoms high, that's the way to go, boys.''

He taped the bit to air later on his TBS show, ''Conan.''

Denman had his small booth overtaken by O'Brien's camera crew, and after they departed, he straightened a picture on the wall that had been knocked askew.

''It's unique,'' he said of O'Brien's performance. ''You will never, ever get any race call like that in the history of horse racing.''

It was an exciting two-horse race to the finish line, with Knucklebuster beating Blue Collar Boy by a half-length. He paid $18 for a $2 win bet.

A member of O'Brien's crew said he held two winning tickets on the race, and figured they were worth about $280.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

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  Mike Dempsey
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby,  winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike’s Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

Join Mike each day with daily picks from Aqueduct or you can get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
  Jerry Sessa
Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.

Jerry's is looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

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