(Marshall Cassidy / Coglianese Photo & Courtesy of NYRA)
From the NYRA Media Team:
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) mourns the loss of Marshall Cassidy, who served as its track announcer from 1979 to 1990. Cassidy, who died Sunday at the age of 75, was noted for his enduring accuracy and even-keeled delivery.
Cassidy, who later served as a patrol and placing judge in New York, was a member of NYRA’s elite fraternity of track announcers. Serving as backup announcer during much of the 1970s to Dave Johnson and Chic Anderson, Cassidy took over as NYRA’s lead announcer after Anderson’s death in 1979.
In addition to his duties on the NYRA circuit, Cassidy called races throughout the 1980s on television for CBS, ABC, NBC and ESPN. He was succeeded at NYRA by Tom Durkin in 1990.
“Marshall Cassidy was incredibly skilled at his craft and a true ambassador for thoroughbred racing in New York,” said NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke. “Marshall was a friend to so many, especially in Saratoga, where he could so often be found in mixing it up in the press box or talking to fans in the backyard. We mourn his loss and offer our condolences to his friends, family and colleagues past and present.”
Durkin praised Cassidy’s unique delivery and accuracy which he said rivaled that of Fred Capossela, NYRA’s race caller from 1934 to 1971.
“Marshall had a voice that belonged in the Hall of Fame. He had a resonant baritone and his timbre was perfect,” said Durkin, who was NYRA race caller from 1990 to 2014. “In terms of New York announcers – and this is the highest praise – he was on an even par with Fred Capossela. The most important thing for a racetrack announcer to be is accurate. And for that, Marshall was peerless.”
John Imbriale, NYRA’s current race caller, also remembered Cassidy for his accuracy and his distinctive style.
“Nobody was more accurate than Marshall,” said Imbriale. “His call of Easy Goer’s Belmont Stakes win will be remembered forever.”
Cassidy also mentored Imbriale in the 1980s at Aqueduct, often critiquing and analyzing his practice calls and teaching him the ropes of a profession that few ever master.
“He was very supportive and really took the time to help me,” Imbriale said of Cassidy. His help was extremely important.”
Cassidy was a member of a distinguished multi-generational family of racing officials in New York. His maternal grandfather, Marshall Whiting Cassidy, was a race starter and later a steward, who eventually became racing director for NYRA’s predecessor agencies, and later the executive director of The Jockey Club. Cassidy’s maternal great-grandfather, Marshall (Mars) Cassidy, was also a fixture in New York racing as a race starter, the first to use a barrier to start a race, and immortalized in coverage by Damon Runyon.
George Cassidy, Cassidy’s grand-uncle, was also a race starter, serving for upwards of 50 years, mostly at NYRA tracks, before he retired in 1980.