Louisville, KY – Forty-two year old Mark Johnson was among five finalists for the job. All of
them were given a week's audition during the Churchill Downs fall meet.
Johnson's biggest test will come on the first Saturday in May, when he'll
call his first Kentucky Derby. He's never attended the event, but says he
has long appreciated the spectacle from afar, particularly the playing of
"My Old Kentucky Home,"
(i can tell you, i will have the hugest lump in my throat, it gets you just four
thousand miles away across the pond, so believe me when i'm stood at the
top of that booth, it will definitely get to me).
Johnson, who will continue to work in Britain as well, becomes Churchill Downs'
sixth announcer. His predecessor, Luke Kruytbosch, suffered a fatal heart
attack last July.