Colonial Downs officials today announced that veteran race caller Jason Beem will be the official track announcer for the 2019 Colonial Downs meeting, August 8 – September 7.
Beem, who began calling races in 2006, is currently the race caller at Monmouth Park through late June. Beem, raised in Washington state, was the race caller at Portland Meadows from 2006 to 2014, and was the full-time race caller at River Downs (now Belterra) from 2006-2008; as well as calling the races at Louisiana Downs in 2015, along with stints at Gulfstream Park West and Emerald Downs. Beem will also take part in race analysis, handicapping as well as social media posts for Colonial Downs.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the Colonial Downs team for the rebirth of racing in Virginia,” said Beem. “I have many fond memories watching and playing the great turf races from Colonial Downs for several years, so the opportunity to get to call those races is something I’m really looking forward to experiencing. I’m also very excited about the team they are putting together and look forward to helping make this first season back a successful one.”
Colonial Downs also announced Merv Huber as the track’s Racing Analyst and Paddock Host for this year’s meet. Huber graduated with honors from the renowned University of Louisville Equine Program and began working full time at Churchill Downs. He co-hosted the Churchill Downs Today show and filled in as paddock host and handicapper while also working in the marketing department. Huber knew he wanted to pursue a career in horse racing after watching Silver Charm win the 1997 Kentucky Derby.
Both announcements are rounding out an impressive team of racing professionals at Colonial Downs. “Jason balances a thoroughly engaging style of precision race calling and a flair of fun and excitement to his craft,” said Jill Byrne, Colonial Downs Vice President of Racing Operations. “I’ve worked with Merv over the years and his passion and enthusiasm for horse racing and handicapping draws in everyone around him. Jason and Merv make a great team to provide our fans and patrons with expertise handicapping insight and race information on track, through our simulcast signal, and on all social media platforms.”
Through the investment of the Colonial Downs Group, Colonial Downs has been reestablished for the 2019 season. Located between Richmond and Williamsburg, Colonial Downs will offer daily purses averaging a minimum of $500,000, which will comprise an approximate $7.5 million in total purses allocated for the meeting, highlighted by the $250,000 Virginia Derby for 3-year-olds on August 31.