'Here Comes Rudolph'
Deer on horse track leads race announcer to ad lib call
There was an unexpected feature on the racecard at The Meadows.
A trifecta of long shots made their way onto the horse track outside of Pittsburgh just as a field of horses were ready to leave the gate. Breaking from behind the backstretch were three deer, who made their way on the track and delayed the race.
Race caller Roger Huston made the best of it. After all, he was doing a live TV broadcast.
Quick quiz: What are the names of Santa’s reindeer in the Twas The Night Before Christmas?Answer at bottom.
“As they race down the track, Bambi has the lead. Here comes Rudolph from the outside,” said Huston, who afterward told CBS Pittsburgh it wasn’t his best call. “It’s funny, when you’re trying to think of stuff. The only two deer I could think of was Rudolph and Bambi. I forgot Dancer, Prancer, Vixen and all those others.”
Well, he only needed one more. The action was odd enough. The deer ran back and forth looking for an exit, but with no blinders the bright lights left them confused.
“They are going the wrong way right now. A race delay as we have a ‘deer event,’” Huston announced. “One thing that was interesting about the deer is that they were in straight alignment, whatever the older deer did, the others just followed.”
Huston played on the absurdity, providing horse racing lines at every turn, like when the deer turned back toward the paddock, he said there’s apparently an equipment problem.
After several moments, the two other deer followed “Bambi to the infield,” a deep valley within the track.
There have been other incidences of deer on the race surface, and even opossums getting onto the track has delayed races.
Answer: Clement Clarke Moore penned Twas the Night before Christmas in 1822, and his deer were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. How’d you do?