The Sweet Sounding Swede Behind The Meadowlands Mic

Call Me Dani winning at The Meadowlands
Published: March 2, 2024 02:02 am EST

There was no need to adjust your TV for Friday’s sixth race at New Jersey's Meadowlands Racetrack, as the dash was called quite capably by 19-year-old Alex Persson, the track announcer at Aby Racetrack in Sweden.

Persson was in town visiting and Big M caller Ken Warkentin was happy to give up the microphone for the race, which was won by the Christopher Lakata-trained trotting mare Call Me Dani ($6.10) and driver Todd McCarthy. They closed along the pylons to prevail from the pocket by a half-length over favoured Stormont Divide in 1:54.3.

“It was amazing [to call a race at The Meadowlands],” said Persson. “But it’s different calling a race here. First of all, it’s a mile track. Aby is a smaller track, and the race goes a bit differently here. It’s a lot faster.”

Persson was exceptionally young when he got the gig at Aby.

“I’ve been the race caller there since August of 2021, when I was 17. I did some race calling for two years before that at a small summer track in Sweden. The announcer at Aby was quitting and they wanted to go with some young, fresh blood. That’s how I got the job.”

One day, Persson hopes to call the biggest race in his country.

“I would love to call the Elitloppet,” said Persson. “It’s the biggest dream of any announcer in Sweden. Hopefully, that will come someday.”

Getting it 'Dunn' at The Meadowlands

It was merely another night at the salt mine for Dexter Dunn, as the 34-year-old New Zealand native recorded three wins on the card to lead the driver colony. Dunn scored with American Way ($3) in the second race, ER Vegas ($3.60) in the ninth and Southwind Frost ($3.60) in the 11th.

The four-time Dan Patch Driver of the Year (from 2019-22) has now won at least one race on each of the eight programs he’s competed on since his return from vacation on Feb. 3.

Handle reaches a Friday high

Wagering at The Meadowlands has been strong all year long, but Friday night was an especially good night on an especially cold night as a 2024 Friday night best for the track (and second-highest overall) $3,664,781 USD was put in play on the 14-race program.

Not surprisingly, the two races that offer the track’s popular 50-cent Pick-4 had vigorous wagering, as $303,326 USD was bet on race six and $311,547 USD on race 10. During the night, single-race betting topped $300,000 USD five times.

There have been 16 programs contested at The Big M this year, with 14 of those busting the $3 million barrier in wagering. The previous Friday night best was established on Feb. 2 when $3.27 USD million was pushed through the windows.

The top night of action this year was on Saturday, Jan. 27, when the total handle was $3,779,096 USD.

Big M TV’s Dave Little was red hot with his selections on the card, tabbing eight winners, three exactas and the Late Daily Double. Little’s big hit of the night came in the ninth race when he had the Early Pick-4 three times, giving his fans a $321 score for a $36 investment.

Racing resumes on Saturday at 6:20 p.m.

(With files from The Meadowlands; Photo of Call Me Dani winning on March 1)

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