Jonathan Horowitz is only 20 and has two or three years left before completing his studies at USC, but already he has built a formidable resume as a horse-race caller.
Horowitz, among 26 students who participated in the three-day Los Angeles Times Journalism Workshop, took over for Vic Stauffer and called the last race Saturday at Hollywood Park, where the students "covered" the Los Angeles Times Handicap and wrote about it.
Horowitz, who's from Irvine, has called about 60 races. He called his first race, at Los Alamitos, when he was 14, and has been a guest announcer at 15 tracks, five of them in Britain. It was fitting that he finally got around to being heard at Hollywood, since he used to practice calls from the roof at the Inglewood track.
"It's what I want to do," Horowitz said. "At first my parents weren't sure this was what they would want to see me do, but now they like the idea."
Horowitz, who has a double major in print journalism and mathematics, has also called races at Santa Anita, Arlington Park in suburban Chicago, Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Lone Star Park near Dallas, Colonial Downs in Virginia, Canterbury Park in Minnesota, the Fair Grounds in New Orleans and Gulfstream Park in Florida.
In 2001, Horowitz called the Oak Tree Stakes at the Goodwood track in England. Goodwood has a working relationship with the Oak Tree Racing Assn., which conducts an annual fall meet at Santa Anita.
"That was an experience," Horowitz said. "The course is so spread out, that at one point you can't even spot the horses with binoculars. You have to call that part of the race from what you see on a TV monitor."
Horowitz credits Ed Burgart, the Los Alamitos announcer, and Michael Wrona, who once called races at Hollywood Park, with helping him along the way. John Mooney, the brother of Mike Mooney, Hollywood Park's publicity director, gave Horowitz a three-day assignment at Colonial when that track's regular announcer had a conflict.
In calling Pirate's Memoir's win in Saturday's 10th race, Horowitz' British experience showed.
"One of the fancied runners was a little slow to stride," he said as a horse broke awkwardly.