Larry Lederman Passes

In loving memory of Larry Lederman

The United States Trotting Association (USTA) has reported that Larry Lederman, 67, known for his playfulness and wit during a decades-long career as a racetrack announcer, passed away on March 5, 2024, after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.

Mr. Lederman, who began working fulltime as an announcer in the mid-1980s at Atlantic City Race Course, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 2011. He was forced to curtail his workload in the ensuing years, but still made occasional guest race-calling appearances at numerous tracks and remained a popular presence in the sport.

Despite his illness, Mr. Lederman maintained a positive outlook.

“You’ve got to fight the fight; you don’t give up,” he said in a 2018 video interview with the U.S. Trotting Association. “I’ve always said it’s better to have 16 in a blackjack game than 22 because once you’re out of the game, that’s it. You’ve got to stay in it.

“I never felt sorry for myself, ever. You could say this is no way to live, but you accept it and say let me look at what I do have instead of what I don’t have. It can really beat you down and get very depressing, but you can’t let it happen.”

Mr. Lederman, a native New Yorker, was introduced to harness racing by his father, who had a business in Manhattan and enjoyed going to Yonkers and Roosevelt raceways. Before getting his start in racing, Mr. Lederman worked as a cab driver and did standup comedy at Catch A Rising Star, even appearing on the same bill as Robin Williams.

In 1977, he began working at the Daily Racing Form taking chart calls, but being an announcer was his ambition. He got his first fulltime job at Atlantic City in 1987 and two years later added Garden State Park to his credentials. He continued to work for the Daily Racing Form until 1990. In 1998, he became the announcer at Freehold Raceway.

Over the years, Mr. Lederman became recognized for the wordplay, impressions and observations he would mix into race calls. He called races nationally on both network and cable television and was the race-caller in Robert DeNiro’s 1993 film A Bronx Tale. Lederman's work also crossed the border into Canadian harness racing, serving as the voice for Standardbred Canada's Xtreme Horsepower events at Georgian Downs.

In 2011, Mr. Lederman received the Good Guy Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

Mr. Lederman, who resided in East Windsor, New Jersey, not far from Freehold, realized his style was not to everybody’s taste but often emphasized that accuracy when calling a race was his primary concern.

“The game is first and foremost,” Mr. Lederman said in an interview soon after becoming the announcer at Freehold. “It can go on without me. I just try to help it along.

“I try to put a lot of preparation into my work. You’re signing your name to it. You’re the last bridge between the track and the public. There is a time and a place for everything. I try to keep the races interesting enough to watch. I understand my style is a little different, but I think it helps the game.”

In his 2018 interview with the USTA, Mr. Lederman said, “I threw a changeup when everybody would just throw fastballs. I would say for the most part, I thought it worked. I thought I was adding something to the game, not hurting it.”

Mr. Lederman was predeceased by his wife, Jodi, and their daughter, Leslie. He is survived by his brother, Alan, son, Scott, grandson, Cayden LoBianco, and extended family.

While Mr. Lederman's services are private, those who desire honouring him might consider a donation to the Christian Harness Horsemen’s Association or a cancer or hospice-related charity.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends and Larry Lederman.

(With files from USTA; Photo of Larry Lederman courtesy USTA)

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