Bill Downes New Track Announcer


AUBURN, Wash. (Feb. 7, 2022) – Emerald Downs has announced the hiring of Bill Downes as track announcer for its 2022 live racing season, beginning Sunday, May 15.

Downes succeeds Tom Harris, who recently stepped down to spend more time with his family.

A Chicago native, Downes brings an extensive announcing resume to Emerald Downs. He served as Indiana Grand track announcer from 2013 to 2021, and before that called races at Ellis Park, Beulah Park, Presque Isle Downs, and River Downs. He also was back-up announcer at Churchill Downs.

“I’m thrilled to come to Emerald Downs,” Downes said. “Emerald is a track I’ve always held in high esteem. I was there once for a two-day handicapping tournament, and the thing I noticed was an excellent on-track experience. Everyone was having a good time.”

Asked to describe his announcing style, Downes said his No. 1 goal is accuracy and providing information.

“Accuracy is the most important thing, nothing else matters if you aren’t accurate,” Downes said. “I like to set the scene for a race. Every race is a story.”

Harris, who called four seasons at Emerald Downs, commuted from Spokane to Auburn weekly to call the races.

“I will certainly miss all of the great people, horsemen and horses at Emerald Downs,” Harris said. “It truly has been a wonderful adventure in my life, but my family is very important.”

Downes becomes just the fourth announcer in the track’s 27-year history. Robert Geller was in the announcer’s booth from 1996 to 2015, followed by Matt Dinerman (2015-2017) and Harris (2018-2021).

Tom Harris Video