Who ya gonna call? Larry Fox

The full-time lawyer loves being a part-time race caller.

by Debbie Little

To commemorate his 60th birthday, Larry Fox will be calling the fifth race at The Meadowlands on Saturday (April ٢٧).

Fox has never called a Big M pari-mutuel race, but since the fall of 2023, he’s been announcing the track’s qualifiers.

“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” Fox said. “Maybe it will be on my bucket list one day to call a race at every harness track. That would be kind of cool.

“I’ve called [pari-mutuel races at] Tioga, Pompano, [four full cards at] Freehold, and now I get to call one [race] at The Meadowlands, so we’ll see where it takes me. I’m having fun.”

Fox, whose birthday is Sunday (April 28), is a lawyer and president of Shark Sports Management, a multi-faceted sports agency that represents professional athletes (mostly football and basketball players). He’s also the personal attorney for Shark Tank’s Daymond John and general counsel for John’s company, The Shark Group.

On Saturday, Fox will announce 18 qualifiers starting at 9 a.m. before getting to the main attraction and his Big M pari-mutuel debut in race 5, which won’t go off until after 7 p.m. He’s slated to call a Meadowlands Amateur Driving Club race, so ironically, an amateur is calling amateurs.

“I’m a very busy person, but my passion and love is horses,” Fox said. “I own horses, but I’m a lawyer by trade. I mean, in a slow week I probably work 70 hours.”

Fox grew up in New York in Massapequa on Long Island’s South Shore and remembers spending weekends at Roosevelt Raceway.

“I’ve been announcing races in the shower and on car rides just for fun, since I was a little boy,” Fox said. “My dad owned a couple of horses. I used to go down and feed them. I love horses more than I love people, probably.”

Growing up, Fox idolized announcers Jack E. Lee (Roosevelt) and Bob Meyer (Yonkers Raceway), and even though he’s owned horses over the years, it wasn’t until more recently that harness racing has become his second calling.

“I used to play a lot of [sports], but just over the last 10 years [harness racing] has become even a more passionate hobby,” he said.

To celebrate his 50th birthday in ٢٠١٤, Fox attended the United States Trotting Association’s (USTA) Driving School and the following year, he did a race calling workshop at Goshen Historic Track with the legendary Tom Durkin.

Part of Fox’s race call was featured on the USTA’s weekly news magazine Morning Line here (starting at ٥:١١).

“I appeared in the video and they were like, aspiring horse racing announcer, not that I was aspiring, I was just doing it for fun,” Fox said.

Fox also took Hall of Famer Ken Warkentin’s Announcers’ Workshop at The Big M a couple of times in the last few years before deciding to ask Meadowlands chief operating officer/general manager Jason Settlemoir if he could call their qualifiers.

Settlemoir, a graduate of Ohio State University, is also a race caller.

“Larry has been great to work with and he certainly loves harness racing and The Meadowlands,” Settlemoir said. “Larry emails me just about every week requesting permission to announce the qualifiers. It’s nice to have people like Larry who not only loves the sport but also loves announcing; my favorite pastime. Response has been overwhelmingly positive to having him announce the qualifiers.

“My motto in life is, ‘Pay it forward.’ Woody Hayes instilled that motto in the Ohio State athletic program while he was head football coach at OSU. I have read a lot about Woody Hayes and that motto over the years and I truly believe in the saying. If it wasn’t for so many people giving me a chance, I wouldn’t be where I am today, so paying it forward is very important to me.”

Don’t think just because Fox considers calling races fun, that he doesn’t take it seriously.

“I put a lot of work into the qualifying fields at The Meadowlands,” Fox said. “I probably study when I’m doing a card [of qualifiers] and do at least two to two-and-a-half hours of research. I go through every horse and I write a note or two, like this horse has a 1:48.2 mark. If it’s a stakes horse, like Abuckabett Hanover [who qualified last week], I’ll go to the Internet and remind myself if this horse was in the Meadowlands Pace or in the Hambletonian as a 3-year-old.”

Fox also mentions yearling sale prices and other tidbits in his calls because unlike a pari-mutuel race, qualifiers tend to have very little in the way of action, so he tries to make it more entertaining for his listeners.

Although he is having a great time calling races, and already has two upcoming gigs at Freehold next month, Fox is quick to point out that he is not looking to quit his day job.

The NBA gives out a yearly award to the best sixth man in the league, the first guy off the bench who makes a big contribution. Maybe harness racing should have a similar award and give it to Fox, who is a super-sub when it comes to race calling.

“This is my hobby,” Fox said. “I tell people I’m not here to step on anyone’s toes. I’m not here to take any work away from a young Edison Hatter or anyone that wants to do this for a living.

“But if you’re ever stuck and you need somebody, I’m happy to come down and call the race.”