Yesterday we sent-off a Legend. Known as “The Voice of Woodbine” for the past 29 years, Race Announcer Dan Loiselle now is officially retired after calling his final race yesterday, the Lady Angela Stakes at the Toronto Racecourse.
As a huge Racing Fan, this comes with mixed emotions. Sure, we are happy to see him get a well-deserved break at last but more for selfish reasons, we are sad to see him go. Since childhood and as long as I remember going to Woodbine Racetrack, Loiselle‘s voice became synoymous with the thrill of a stretch drive, distancing the Winner that much further from the Runners-up. It could have been a Photo Finish, but Loiselle had you believing the Winner won by a mile. Each Race Call had its own individual story and he never was short on ideas to tell them smartly. Fans partly were cheering for the horses and jockeys, but few could deny that the excitement of a race finish at Woodbine was heightened considerably by Loiselle‘s exhilarating narrative. The tremor in his Baritone, the perspective and heart of a true Racing Fan. He told each Race as a Fan would see it, but a level of dexterity and accuracy no other Fan ever could.
Upon running into Loiselle this past Winter at an Open House event which he hosted, I semi-jokingly expressed my disapproval of his then-forthcoming retirement, crying “How dare you retire on me Dan!?”. He gave back an appreciative expression, but I knew at that point he was beyond a doubt certain of his decision and there wouldn’t be any reconsideration. Trust me, we’ve seen many false retirements in the Sport.
It brings me a great sense of pride to know that Loiselle considers me a Friend and upon exchanging hugs before his final Race Call yesterday, he tells me, “Will Wong, you’re a great Friend to have!”.
I’m going to miss Dan Loiselle so much, but know he won’t be that far away. I wish his Wife Wendy Loiselle, also an Employee at Woodbine nothing but happiness in this next chapter of their lives. We also look forward greatly to the Race Calls of Robert Geller, who comes to Woodbine Saturday, June 13th, by way of Emerald Downs in Washington.