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Monday, March 24, 2014 - 12:22am
Sunland Park, NM (KDBC) — Sunday was the big day and the excitement was building moments before the Sunland Derby was underway.
Besides the horses, the betting and the 1,000 of fans, there's another important part of the Sunland Derby, the voice who's been calling the races for years.
For Robert Geller, being the announcer at the track isn't just a fun job, calling horse races is a lifelong dream.
"It's fresh every day, you never know what you are going to get," Geller said.
Ever since he can remember, Geller had a passion for horse racing.
"I would create fake fields in my room and fictitious race names. I would be calling it all the time as a kid,” he explained. “So when I thought about doing this for real, being serious about it, that is a totally different thing. You have to train yourself. There is no school really."
The Aussie's career has taken him all over the world. From his native Australia - to Hong Kong and Seattle - and then finally at the Sunland Park Racetrack.
"This track also has a great tradition, but it hit some tough times,” Geller explained. “But it has grown. So it is gratifying to be part of that growth. We have seen the Sunland Derby as a good example."
The biggest growth was in 2009 after Mine That Bird ran in the Sunland derby, then later went on to win the Kentucky Derby as a 50 to 1 odds.
Geller said that year made Sunland Park a true player in the horse racing world.
"Those were the days not that long back when everyone was like, ‘oh my god. How can that happen from New Mexico,’” Geller said. “That has passed. Now they go, ‘ok that horse ran in the Sunland Derby.’ There is more of a respect we had to earn.
Now that race day has come and gone, fans were able to watch a great race on the track and listen to the man who loves the sport.