Marshall Cassidy, longtime horse racing caller, dies at 75

Marshall Cassidy, who served as the New York Racing Association’s lead race caller throughout the 1980s, has died. He was 75.

Cassidy died in his sleep Sunday at his home in Saratoga Springs, New York, according to longtime friend Glen Mathes, who spoke to Cassidy’s wife, Maryellen.

Cassidy served as backup announcer during much of the 1970s to Dave Johnson and Chic Anderson. He took over after Anderson’s death in 1979.

He was the sport’s most prominent announcer in the 1980s. Besides working at Aqueduct, Belmont Park and Saratoga, Cassidy called races on television for ABC, CBS, NBC and ESPN. He was succeeded at NYRA by Tom Durkin in 1990.

In 1989, Cassidy was on the mic for the Belmont Stakes when Easy Goer upset Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Sunday Silence to spoil his Triple Crown bid.

Coming to the finish, Cassidy roared, “It’s New York’s Eeeeeasy Goer in front.”

He was known for his accuracy, precise diction and upbeat delivery, especially when calling a close race.

“Marshall had a voice that belonged in the Hall of Fame. He had a resonant baritone and his timbre was perfect,” said Durkin, who retired in 2014. “The most important thing for a racetrack announcer to be is accurate, and for that, Marshall was peerless.”

Cassidy returned to the booth for one day on Sept. 1, 2008, to call a race at Saratoga.

He also worked as a patrol and placing judge in New York. He came from a family of racing officials in the state.

His grandfather, Marshall Cassidy, was a race starter and a steward, and an executive director of The Jockey Club. Cassidy’s great-grandfather, Marshall “Mars” Cassidy, worked as a race starter. Grand-uncle George Cassidy was also a race starter for nearly 50 years.

Besides his wife, Cassidy is survived by daughters Christina and Cynthia, and son Marshall III.

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