Mileposts: Out front and behind the scenes, Imbriale
, Mathes retire from NYRA
...Undaunted by the controversy swirling around the New York Racing Association, Director of Communications Glen Mathes and television host and track announcer John Imbriale conducted their jobs quietly and professionally for more than 20 years.
, who turns 50 on February 26, will be, too.He
already has booked opening weekend and Travers Stakes (G1) weekend at Saratoga Race Course.
"Nobody could have had a better job than I had, especially at Saratoga," Imbriale
said."It was as good as it gets."
Each has a deep appreciation of the other's past performance lines at NYRA
"I always thought it a tough assignment to keep the press box guys happy and, at the same time, do what you have to do for the track," Imbriale
...In the late summer of 1982, following a change in track management at Arlington Park, Imbriale worked as the replacement for legendary Chicago announcer Phil Georgeff.
lasted six weeks.
"I was soundly and roundly booed on the first race, which I screwed up royally," Imbriale
said with a laugh."There were articles.One letter said going from Georgeff to Imbriale
was like going from Secretariat to a $5,000 claimer."
...A second change in track management returned Georgeff to the Arlington booth and sent Imbriale happily back to his native Long Island, where the St. John's University graduate resumed working for NYRA.
had been working for Sportsphone
, a sports reporting service that predated ESPN, in 1979 when his
uncle noticed an ad in the New York Daily News
for a track announcer contest at Belmont Park.First prize was a job in the NYRA
won, and he
eventually became the NYRA liaison for WWOR-TV's popular weekly racing show hosted by trainer Frank Wright and Charlsie Cantey.
"It was really a lot of fun, and I learned a lot just by watching him and her
said, "Everybody has the horse who got him hooked.