Currently, the track announcer at Shenandoah Downs and have been interested in horse racing since I was 7 years old. When I came to the conclusion I wouldn’t be a jockey due to my height, I turned to race calling upon the advice of a friend’s older sister.
I called my first professional race over a loudspeaker at Monmouth Park in New Jersey when I was 17 and after becoming an overnight sensation with fans, horsemen, and screaming girls, I never looked back.
Since that time, I’ve frequented the press boxes at Laurel Park, Pimlico, and Timonium, went to auctioneer school, took public speaking classes, earned an Associate’s Degree in Communications, called races into a tape recorder and later my cell phone, spent weekends at the race track instead of doing the typical school age kids activities, connected with my fellow announcers, jockeys, owners, trainers, and on air personalities (I met Bob Baffert at Pimlico), and traveled to countless racetracks across the United States.
I’m looking to share my love for horse racing with others as a track announcer with the goal of calling the nationally televised races for NBC Sports, where I hope to earn the title, “The Voice of the Triple Crown”.
BIO – He’s a 19 year-old from Ellicott City and a student at Howard Community College.
And he’s an aspiring Thoroughbred race track announcer.
It’s a passion that he has had since he was 7 years-old and first started calling races. It was the year Smarty Jones captured the imagination of the sports world when the horse from Philadelphia Park won the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness before coming up short in the Belmont.
He says he really wants to be a track announcer because after doing baseball play-by-play for fun he tried calling a horse race at his friend’s graduation party when Union Rags won the 2012 Belmont Stakes.
Kearney says his friend’s sister said he should really start calling races.
So for the last 4 years Thomas has called races on TV at home in Ellicott City, but he has also called races from the grandstand at both Laurel Park and Pimlico.
Thomas Kearney got his first big break 2 years ago when he travelled to Monmouth Park and joined track announcer Travis Stone to call a race in the booth.
In doing so, at 17 he became the 2nd youngest person to call a Thoroughbred race as the track announcer.
When the worldwide search began for a new Monmouth Park track announcer over the previous winter after Baltimore native and Mount St. Joe grad Larry Collmus left Monmouth to become the track announcer at Churchill Downs, Kearney emailed a submission for the track announcer job at the Jersey Shore track.
Although the more experienced Travis Stone was chosen to fill the shoes of long-time track announcer Larry Collmus, his promise earned him the chance of a lifetime.
Thomas called the 3 race on the card on Saturday, June 28, 2014.
Then a year ago Thomas was invited by Pimlico and Laurel Park track announcer Dave Rodman to call a race at the State Fair Timonium meet.
Thomas made his track announcer debut in his home state calling the 3rd race at Timonium on September 4, 2015.
A week ago on Preakness opening day, Thomas joined WBAL News Radio 1090’s Scott Wykoff on the roof of the grandstand at Pimlico to call 6 races that were used in the feature that Scott produced for the station’s Preakness week coverage.
Scott came up with the idea for the feature after spotting Thomas standing at the top of the grandstand at Laurel Park and calling races with his program on a music stand.
Thomas lists both Dave Rodman and current NBC Triple Crown, Belmont, Saratoga and Gulfstream race caller Larry Collmus as among his favorite track announcers.
After exchanging email and texts for several months, Kearney and Collmus planned to meet at Pimlico on the Thursday before the Preakness
Photo Credit: Scott Wykoff