Episode 122. Mark Johnson – International Horse Racing Announcer, Kentucky & Epsom Derbies
Mark Johnson has a deep passion for the sport and spectacle of horse racing; He calls it the greatest theatre on earth.
Mark is only the 6th track announcer in the history of Churchill Downs and the first non-American to hold the position to call America’s greatest thoroughbred horse race, the Kentucky Derby. He has become one of Britain’s senior track announcers, having called many of Britain’s most important races, including five Epsom Derbies, a British classic for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds’ first run in 1780. The Epsom Derby serves as a model for our very own Kentucky Derby. Calling the Epsom Derby was a realization of a dream Mark had held since the age of four.
On British television, Mark hosts the dedicated horse racing channel, “Racing UK,” where he fronts much of the channel’s international racing coverage, including the Arc de Triomphe from France.
In January 2009, following the unexpected and sudden death of Churchill Downs’ announcer, Luke Kruytbosch, at age 47, Mark became the track’s official announcer calling his first and the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby later that year. He made racing/broadcasting history by becoming the first track announcer to call both the Kentucky Derby and the English Derby at Epsom.