By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com
Of all the awesome old dudes in the last 15 years Harvey Pack is on Mount Olympus, ruling benevolently along with Harry Caray, Burgess Meredith's character from Grumpy Old Men, John Wooden, Bill Russell, Buck O'neil, George Carlin, all the WWII veterans/commenters from Band of Brothers, and Art Donovan.
(I hijacked this article from here.)
NEW YORK, NY, April 2, 2009 -- Daily Racing Form today announced that Harvey Pack is retiring as the longtime host of DRF’s popular daily Saratoga handicapping seminars, which is ending its 17-year run at Siro’s restaurant, and that DRF has entered into a strategic partnership with the New York Racing Association to sponsor and provide analysts for an expanded and reformatted “Talking Horses” for the Saratoga race meet.
“Talking Horses, Presented by Daily Racing Form” will be conducted in a live audience format in 2009. The popular longstanding daily television show will be extended to 45 minutes, 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. every racing day and broadcast live in the Carousel Restaurant facing the grandstand backyard. Scratches and changes have been moved to 11:40 am to allow the live program to be broadcast uninterrupted on all on-track monitors.
The new 3-person format will include a NYRA host (Eric Donovan or Jason Blewitt), NYRA co-host Andy Serling and a Daily Racing Form guest daily. DRF guests will include Steve Crist, Dave Grening, Dan Illman, Dave Litfin, Mike Watchmaker, and others.
“The Daily Racing Form’s handicapping seminars at Siro’s have been one of the great traditions of the Saratoga race meet,” NYRA President and CEO Charles Hayward said. “It won’t be the same without the legendary Harvey Pack, but we are thrilled with the opportunity to bring the DRF seminars on track and to combine our respective resources of talent and broadcast capabilities.”
The 82-year-old Pack, who resides in New York City with his wife Joy, cited family considerations for his decision not to return to Saratoga Springs for the annual six-week summer race meet. He had hosted the DRF seminars since 1999, reviving a tradition he began as the longtime host of “The Paddock Club” at the track and the “Thoroughbred Action” television show. If his family situation allows, Harvey is considering a cameo appearance as “Talking Horses” host early in August.
“The DRF seminars at Siro’s was a great gig,” said Pack. “The audiences responded to every joke and were all fans for many years. I want to thank everyone involved for a great ten years. I leave you with Little Andy (Serling), my last and best gift to racing.”
“We were saddened when Harvey told us that he could no longer come to Saratoga for the meet,” said Crist, DRF’s publisher. “We briefly considered alternative hosts but quickly concluded that no one could ever adequately replace Harvey. While it’s the end of an era for those of us involved with the DRF seminars, we’re excited about our new partnership with NYRA and hope to preserve the spirit of the seminars.”