Charlsie Cantey : A Pioneer in Horse Racing Media

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It is safe to say that Charlsie Cantey never expected to break ground as the first female racing broadcaster. Things happened for her as she never imagined herself to be of the pioneering type. In 1975, when Frank Tours who was then with the New York Racing Association asked and insisted Cantey frequently if she was interested in appearing on a television show on a regular basis. But despite all his efforts, Cantey always seemed to strongly refuse the idea. Eventually, Frank’s persistence paid off as Cantey agreed to meet the broadcasting manager Bill Creasy to put things to bed. Bill was very eager to add Cantey to the voices of Dave Johnson and Frank Wright. It was not long after that when Wright was forced to miss a show due to other commitments as Cantey was asked to replace her. Cantey agreed, and there was no looking back there on. She began her search for material and ended with a horse named No Bias.  He won two times in quick successions to make it a storyline to remember. It surely helped Cantey overcome her earlier scepticism.

Johnson, a mentor and a friend for Cantey was always all praises for her as he was of the opinion as he believed Cantey was terrific at what she did with her being a natural in terms of communication. Cantey’s passion and love for the sport was impeccable. She was thorough with her study and always liked to be around horses. She was not only great on television but also a very good exercise rider. She also approached Frank Whiteley to work in his powerful stable in spite of people alerting her to not to, but it was Cantey’s magic and desired that convinced Whiteley in spite of his toughness.

Riding came quite naturally to her than broadcasting did as Cantey explained how things could go all wrong when the first camera rolls. But in spite of all fears and nervousness she came through and never got any significant criticism and in fact she inspired plenty of women to dream about working with horses and enjoy the sport. She remembered a time when there were no restrooms for women in the barn area but things have changed now and she had some major influence in bringing about that change. Her down-to-earth and humble nature has helped her come a long way and she has brought along more than a change in what was a male-dominated industry. She set an example for all the young women and one can surely say she has become a pioneer in the horse racing media over the years. 

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