The Maryland Jockey Club announced Wednesday that Gabby Gaudet, a 22-year-old student at Towson University, will replace Frank Carulli as the Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park racing analyst after he leaves the company at the end of the Pimlico Race Course spring meeting, which begins today.
Gaudet, who will start full-time after Labor Day, will co-host with Carulli on Saturday and Sunday afternoons during the meet. The 22-year-old was chosen after an on-air audition at Laurel Park on March 23.
"I was very happy the contest was the week it was because I was on spring break and I had time to prepare," Gaudet said. "Talking to people my age in the industry, I feel like it is pulling to the younger demographic. A couple of my high school and college friends are starting to follow racing on Twitter and are planning on coming to the Preakness and not just for the concerts in the infield."
Gaudet's role will include handicapping between races, with the selections available on Twitter, writing a blog on the Pimlico, Laurel and Preakness websites and producing news of the day/week packages for the simulcast signal.
"Gabby was the most well-rounded candidate with a tremendous upside," said Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas. "With the role changing from a pure handicapper to someone who can also assist in the social media world and with the website, her ability to write a blog was significant."
Equibase chart caller Keith Feustle, who has co-hosted the "Today At The Races" pre-race show on the Maryland simulcast signal with track announcer Dave Rodman since the fall 2011, will take over Carulli's morning line responsibilities beginning with the Laurel fall meet in September. Feustle has been the oddsmaker at Colonial Downs since 2003.
Gaudet, the daughter of longtime conditioners Eddie and Linda Gaudet and a graduate of St. Mary's High, is finishing her final semester at Towson. Carulli, 51, is relocating to Las Vegas in July.
Pimlico opens today
The opening-day card includes nine-races, headlined by a $45,000 allowance test for fillies and mares at 11/16 miles.
The seven-horse field includes Zucchini Flower, a multiple-stakes-placed filly from the Graham Motion barn. Other contenders include Carrietta (7-2), Merryland Moon (4-1), Regal Nurse (9-2) and Queen Concerto (6-1).
Apprentice riders Yomar Ortiz and Trevor McCarthy, who finished 1-2 in the recently completed Laurel Park meet, each have eight mounts on the card.
Betting figures up
The Maryland Jockey Club concluded the Laurel winter meeting Saturday, posting average wagering figures that were 17.9 percent higher than the 2012 winter meet.
The average daily handle went from $1.65 million to $1.94 million. Live handle figures increased 7 percent from $485,500 to $518,900, while the export numbers increased 22.5 percent from $1.16 million to $1.42 million per day.
Pimlico spring meet
When: Today through June 8. Live racing will be Thursday through Sunday most weeks.
Today's card: Nine races. First post: 1:10 p.m. Free admission.
Preakness: May 18
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