Voice of Vernon Downs says goodbye after 50 years


VERNON, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Jim Moran has called 73,000 horse races in the course of 50 years at Vernon Downs. Friday night, he called the first race of the 2014 race season, and then said goodbye.

"I've got a lot of mixed emotions," said Moran. "It'll be sad not to be actively involved in the great American sport of harness racing any longer, but I'm looking forward to retirement as well."

As Moran walked through the grand stand, people thanked him for the memories. His impact at the the track is palpable.

"I feel honored. I felt my job was to document the racing here. I didn't realize it would last this long, but I'm very proud of the fact that Vernon Downs is still a viable entertainment option here in Central New York," he said.

So what will he miss the most? "Meeting the crowd as I walk up to the booth every night calling the races. But there comes a time when all good things come to an end and this is my time," he said.

Moran plans on taking his first summer vacation in 52 years and spending time with his three grandchildren.

Moran's successor is 43-year-old Michael Chamberlain from New Jersey.

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