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Last call for Roger Huston at The Meadows

November 02, 2019
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“It’s been enjoyable; a new direction coming up for yours truly. Thank you so very much. Adios from The Meadows.”
 
With those words, Roger Huston brought down the curtain on his 44 years as “The Voice” of The Meadows. He’s called more than 188,000 races in his career, but at 77, he’s cutting back. He’ll continue to call the Little Brown Jug, which he’s done since 1968, and he’ll announce at a number of county fairs. Huston has accepted a position as ambassador for the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association.
 
In a ceremony before the races, speakers from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) cited Huston’s passion for harness racing, a trait that made him a uniquely effective ambassador and champion for the sport.
 
 “One of the things you’ve always said is ‘Be There!’” said Tony Frabbiele, vice president and general manager of The Meadows. “You’ve always been there for us. On behalf of all the employees at The Meadows, thank you for being there.”
 
Kim Hankins, MSOA executive director, thanked Huston for becoming a member of the horsemen’s family and presented him with a plaque.
 
It was Kevin Brogan, vice president of marketing for The Meadows, who perhaps best captured the Hall of Famer when he recalled the first time he heard a Roger Huston call — when Brogan was breaking in as a dishwasher at a Meadows off-track facility. 
 
“I hear this guy, he’s going nuts during the race,” Brogan said. “It’s Monday. It’s January. There’s six inches of snow outside. It’s 22 degrees, and there are 14 people watching this race.  But what I came to understand when Roger shared it with me is that this race might be someone’s first and only win, and it really should be special to them.”
 
The Meadows presented Huston with a crystal vase.
 
On the racing front, Windsong Leo made it look easy once more in the $20,000 Roger Huston Farewell Open Handicap Pace, jogging to a 2 1/2-length victory in 1:49.3 for Dave Palone, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Bettor Than Spring and K Ryan Bluechip rounded out the ticket. The 7-year-old Jereme’s Jet-Windsong Goldie won for the 31st time over the past two seasons and extended his career bankroll to $540,860.
 
In an emotional moment, as he crossed the wire, Palone raised the lines looked up at the announcer’s booth in apparent tribute to Huston.
 
Jim Pantaleano collected three wins on the 12-race card. (MSOA)
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