Tioga names Demsky new race announcer
June 04, 2020
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When racing begins on Sunday, June 7, there will be a new voice behind the mic at Tioga Downs. Andrew “Shades” Demsky, 32, a native of Bellmore, N.Y., will be taking over the duties. Demsky, a graduate of Hofstra University will be taking over for last year’s announcer, Rich Mattei.
Demsky is excited about making a return to the Southern Tier. In 2010 he took a position with the Binghamton Mets in the video production department. He worked for two other minor league teams working in video and fan entertainment.
“Fan entertainment in baseball simply meant putting on a show while a game was taking place, and at times, it can be truly captivating," said Demsky. "There are parallels to horse racing. There is a theater to horse racing. Fashion. Jockeys/drivers in colors. A bugler. there's even a parade (we just call it the 'post parade'.) Oh, there's also about 10 races a day at any given track! Racing is meant to be experienced."
Demsky, who was raised just 15 minutes from Belmont Park, just decided one day to leave baseball and took whatever he could find in horse racing.
“My grandfather was the horse player in the family," he said. "He spent as much time as he could at Roosevelt Raceway. He was buried with a program in his hand.”
Demsky wound up at Tampa Bay Downs working for the television crew and transitioned to become the track's public handicapper. Since then he has held positions at Canterbury Park, Presque Isle Downs, and with the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association.
Demsky, who will also be working in the race office said, “While the bulk of my work in horse racing has been in marketing and promotion as a public handicapper, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to come to Tioga to learn the racing office side of the business and to get behind the mic in the announcer's booth. Calling a race is certainly a challenge, but I've never been one to be complacent. It's the reason I've taken so many jobs across the country and the reason I continue to challenge myself. At Tioga, I'm fortunate to be at such a beautiful facility and can only hope covid-19 restrictions lift so that fans, old and new alike, can experience it as well.”
On dark days, Demsky looks forward to playing golf and fishing in the same golf courses and lakes he did just a decade ago. He will get to call his first race at Tioga Downs on Sunday with a post time of 4 p.m. (Tioga Downs)