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Longtime announcer Caras dies

January 09, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA.

charlestown@herald-mail.com

The voice is gone but not forgotten.

Constantine L. "Costy" Caras, a longtime announcer at Charles Town Races who was known for his signature "Eet ees neoww POST time," has died.

Caras, 81, died Saturday at Shenandoah Health Village Center in Charles Town, and the news was broadcast Saturday night at the track, where Caras worked for 30 years, said Dickie Moore, general manager of racing at the track.

Officials called for a moment of silence at the track and details of his funeral were announced, Moore said.

Services will be Wednesday at 2 p.m. at Zion Episcopal Church in Charles Town. Burial will be in Edge Hill Cemetery, Charles Town. Visitation will be Tuesday from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at Melvin T. Strider Colonial Funeral Home in Charles Town.

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As track announcer, Caras had the knack for memorizing the names of horses and the jockeys' silk colors in the post parade so he could accurately call a race.

When calling races, Caras stretched out syllables in words in a penetrating sound that pierced through the grandstand and grounds. Fans knew the voice well, and often tried to imitate it, track officials said.

Caras said his announcing style was influenced by Fred Capposella, a well-known track announcer for the defunct Jamaica Race Track in New York. Caras' father used to run a restaurant about 15 minutes from the Jamaica track, and the young Caras would often go over to the oval and hang out with track officials.

He later worked two years as Capposella's assistant.

"I've embraced everything Cappy does. Cappy had the voice that thank God I'm blessed with," Caras said at a press conference in 1999 when he retired.

Roger Ramey, vice president of public affairs for the track, said Sunday that Caras was a legend at the thoroughbred oval and that he will be missed greatly.

At times, Caras was as entertaining as anything else at the track, Ramey said. "People would come, sometimes, just to listen to Costy," Ramey said.

Caras would stand in a glass bubble high above the track and methodically examine each horse with his binoculars. He repeated the horses' names over and over to memorize them for the race.

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