Churchill track announcer makes his pick for the Belmont


by Michelle Arnold

Posted on June 8, 2012 at 7:29 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 8 at 7:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) --  It's called the sport of kings, but I'll Have Another will not be anointed the next Triple Crown winner. It's another blow to the sport but there's still a race to be run.

Even a man who calls the races couldn't call this surprising news.

"Obviously I was shocked. From the time I left my apartment by the time I got to work, I found out I'll Have Another is out," said Churchill Downs track announcer Mark Johnson.

In a sport largely ruled by chance, Johnson is prepared for these types of bombshells.

"That's horse racing. Horses get injured everyday," said Johnson.

Now handicappers must re-assess their picks.

"I like the nine horse Paynter. I've always liked the nine horse," said Johnson.

Come tomorrow, his money will be on another Southern California connection.  But he's not ruling out the hometown horse, the new favorite, Dullahan.

"He's the local horse trained by Dale Romans. He's proved he likes to run in the big time," said Johnson.

But it's all a gamble so don't count out the long shots.

"It's a race perennially run by horses that slip under the radar," said Johnson.