#483 - Pennsylvania Jones and the Noble Crusade

In The Gate


We'll let sit out at lunch. Duress minoza says go with california chrome. He's trying to get out for the they come to the top of the stretch firing still holding onto the latest. They hit the top of the stretch. Still nowhere to go right down for california crawl on the outside temperature to get involved but it's buyer poll buyers opened up three california quasi inside is giving his best but he's propping back on outside temperature is taken second. It's fired pulling away. They're coming down to finish at. It will be fired impressive on the product today. Byron's at by five byron's win in the two thousand fourteen. Pennsylvania derby was one of the highlights of the more than sixty thousand races. That track announcer keith. Jones has called at parx racing near philadelphia. It was called philadelphia park when jones started there. In nineteen eighty seven it had been keystone race track before that and it had something revolutionary at the time. A way to get in on the action phone. Bet as you can tell. A lot has changed with the sport but until now one constant of the racing world has been keith jones's voice behind mic heath jones will finally call it a career at the end of the year which of course at the end of the month so before he reaches the finish line. We're glad to be able to welcome him here to win the gate. What led to the decision to retire. Now i guess there's a lot of things that went into the decision. My wife and i had been looking For a retirement home down in texas for some time. There's a number of things down there that attracted us to the area first of all her her family. Her sons and her grandchildren are all in the houston area. We love the water. We love the lake style type living. And there's a a beautiful lake. That's about an hour north of houston beautiful community there that we had gone to visit on a number of occasions and immediately fell in love with so we've been searching for a house for a while. 'cause the homes on the water or not necessarily easy to find and then also in the area where the lake is. My biggest hobby off of the racetrack is playing golf. And there's a beautiful golf course there and number of the holes that border the lake and it's absolutely gorgeous so when you put those three things together You know she could be near her family. We got lake living. We got golf and then the opportunity presented itself and we thought you know what before. We're too old to enjoy it. Let's go ahead. Let's let's pull the trigger and go. And and clyde a new chapter of our lives were really looking forward to it. We saw the instability for the past few years at santa anita as their track announcer situation mirror their run steady managerial situation. You've worked for a few different ownership groups at parks. Were you ever concerned. That management might have wanted to make a change. Absolutely i mean the greenwood people have been here for quite a long time so that the first time we switched over from. It international thoroughbred breeders. The people that own garden state owned garden state and Within was philadelphia park and eventually sold philadelphia park to the greenwood group. So at that point. I was still a pretty young announcer. And yes they the idea. I mean when when new people come in like that a lot of times they clean house and get their own people situated in those positions so absolutely that was concern when they first came but they embraced me wholeheartedly to to stay on as the as a track announcer and then there was a time a number of years ago. I can't put my finger on exactly. What the timeframe was there rumor for a long time that the group was going to be buying the track and added to. Its long last that concern me to be for exactly the same kind of reason you get a new management group. Come in and they want to put their people in place but you know for the most part for the thirty four years. I have felt very secure and very comfortable. And that's just been another positive to you know to what i've been able to do an accomplice here. I know. There's a lot of announcers that have to jump from one to another for seasonal type meets. I've been able to stay put in one location and then be able to be part of a community without having to jump around and jump Know move around for thirty four years and it's been a real real plus for me if you go to different race tracks here and abroad you know that. They're in very different. Types of locations. Aquit up in new york is in a very urban area and right next to kennedy airport whereas keeneland is nestled among verdant quiet rolling hills in horse country. Parks is fascinating to me because the main entrance is on a road with lots of restaurants strip malls and other middle-class commerce. What my grandmother should rest in peace would call the avenue and the back stretch. Entrance is basically a quiet middle-class neighborhood with ranch houses on quarter acre lots. It looks like any middle class neighborhood in the country but with a racetrack next door. How much of that. Ethos of that neighborhood is reflected in the way you approach your craft. I don't think i've ever really considered the location in that regard to have affected the way i approach my job. I mean i've looked out of this window for a long time. And i have a terrific view here. We have a lake in the field. There's a lot of trees in the background. And you know in the fall and of course when those trees turn. It's absolutely beautiful to look at that. I don't think i've ever felt like i fashioned by race. Call or my style around the type of community. That i was working. I just don't think that's really been a big effect being up in that booth all day. Would you be recognized by many of the patrons at the track. If you walked around on the apron. I absolutely i mean there's no question in fact i have been in places locally. Be it the not that anybody ventures into the balls anymore but i mean i've been in balls before in stores before where i might be speaking to a you know a sales representative or whatever and somebody nearby. We'll turn and ask me a. Are you keith jones. They hear my voice. They recognize the voice and they will introduce themselves so abs- absolutely absolutely keith jones. The retiring voice of parx racing since nineteen eighty-seven joins us here on indicate. How have you handled parks as cutback in racing days over the years like losing some fifty some odd days a year that started in two thousand sixteen. Well barry i also. I have a second hat that i wear. It's smaller hat. But i do have a second hat that i wear as public relations director. So they'll be written material that that i'm able to produce for the track and get out researching things whatever be keep track of statistical things so the loss in racing days allowed me to you know put some of my energies into some of the other things that they ask me here to do so really. It hasn't had a huge effect. It also helps a little bit. In the fact that i mean when i first started my career you know we were doing five and six day weeks and i'm not gonna say it's a grind it because i i have enjoyed what i do but it's a very mental job. There's not a whole lot. That's physical about what i do. It's it's about your concentration level and your focus and doing that on a day-to-day you have to stay sharp and getting a little bit of a break in between definitely has helped to keep me fresh over. The course of that. Longtime as i've gotten into the final furlong at my career so to speak smarty jones went the habit a sizzling forty four and one and the product called turns for home. He has in-command buys six. He's in command by seven. Look at this cold folks. Smarty jones in hand wrapped up much the best. He is just also smarty jones

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