Day At The Track
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East Rutherford, NJ - Tioga Downs welcomes Rich Mattei to the announcer's booth and Racing Office for the 2019 season.   Rich had originally been hired to do the race calls at Vernon Downs, a position that will now be filled by John Horne whose voice is familiar as the Tioga announcer over the past few seasons. Horne will continue to write the lead-in and wrap-up articles for both tracks.   Mattei's introduction to calling races was attending the Tom Durkin announcing school in Goshen, NY. He then went on to serve as the announcer for the baby races at Gaitway Farm. That gig led to relief stints at various tracks such as Ocean Downs, Rosecroft, Northfield, Vernon, Freehold and Harrah's Philadelphia along with handicapping the races on TVG for Meadowlands.   "My first full season harness racing job was as the photo-finish/teletimer guy at Harrah's where Rob Pennington and Joe Auger would let me come in early and take entries, put races together and learn about how to do things in the Race Office," said Mattei. "Next was a season as the charter at Freehold, then Karen Fagliarone hired me on as the Assistant Race Secretary which has piqued my interest in that direction. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to work for Jeff Gural and Jason Settlemoir and look forward to the summer at Tioga Downs."   The Tioga meet begins on May 4 with the annual Kentucky Derby Day extravaganza. Live racing will be on Saturday and Sunday for the first two weeks, adding Friday with the May 17 card. Check the website or call (607) 699-7688 for more information.     Nick Salvi

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