Frank Mirahmadi first drew national media attention when he got the job calling races at Oaklawn Park in 2012. The enigmatic man with a penchant for frighteningly accurate impersonations was a big hit with the locals, an enthusiastic bunch of racing fans. When Mirahmadi turned away from them in 2015 to try for his “dream job” at Santa Anita, he knew it was a huge risk, according to the Los Angeles Times, because he would be going up against his friend and talented race caller Michael Wrona.
“If you understand the art of race calling — which I do — I know he's better,” Mirahmadi said of Wrona. “But I thought I could beat him in this deal. I thought I could win over people in an emphatic fashion because of my style, which I thought would suit Santa Anita more than his, especially following Trevor (Deman).”
Wrona ended up with the Santa Anita job, and Mirahmadi eventually ended up part-time at Golden Gate and full-time at Monmouth Park in New Jersey, which, as it turns out, was a blessing in disguise. Mirahmadi had some stomach pains just after the Haskell last year, and the track physician is the one who convinced him to go to the hospital. Doctors found a massive tumor in his colon, and more tests diagnosed Mirahmadi with Stage 3 (B) colon cancer.
“The way I look at it, like in a video game, I'm completely in bonus time right now,” said Mirahmadi, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy once every three weeks at UCLA. “Something like this makes you think, OK, [Santa Anita] was your dream job but I'm calling races in a beautiful environment every day. I like what I'm doing. I love the sport. I'm in California. I've got to be grateful, instead of worrying that I'm not going to call some of these other horses. My good friend is calling those races. It's cool.”
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.
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