If, unlike me, you haven't watched endless replays of Saturday's Belmont Stakes, in which American Pharoah (sic) became the first horse to win the Triple Crown in 37 years, treat yourself with the video above. And if you want to try a little experiment, watch it first with the sound muted, and then again with the sound on.
After about my 10th or so viewing, I realized, damn, that should've been a boring race. The favorite horse broke out in front and stayed there from post to wire. So why do I find the replay so compelling?
I think the credit goes largely to race announcer Larry Collmus. His call of the race was just pitch perfect, his words and the tension in his voice exactly in tune with the hopes and emotions of spectators and viewers.
Like, this gem, at around 00:30, "The opening quarter mile is 24 seconds flat; a sensible fraction for American Pharoah."
A sensible fraction?! That phrase leapt out at me immediately. Aside from its elegant, understated wording, it perfectly encapsulates the mood; the horse's partisans at this point were likely thrilled their hero was in front, but nervous about him overextending himself too soon. "A sensible fraction," indeed.
Here's a bit of footage from NBC Sports where you can see Collmus call the end of the race as it happens. Nice job, Lar.