Santa Anita’s Jon White Retires

May 21, 2024

Jon White. (Benoit Photo)

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jon White, who first went to work for Santa Anita as a television commentator in 1993 and later took over as the morning-line oddsmaker in 2009, has announced that he will be retiring when the track’s current Hollywood meet ends on June 16.

“I’ve been contemplating retirement for four years or so and feel the time is right,” White said. “I’m about to turn 69 and would very much like to retire while in good health. I am very grateful for the opportunity to first work as a television broadcaster for both Santa Anita and HRTV and then to make the track’s morning line for all these years.”

“On behalf of everyone at Santa Anita Park, we thank Jon White for his lifetime commitment to Thoroughbred racing.” Said Nate Newby, Santa Anita Park’s Senior Vice President & General Manager. “He was incredibly and meticulously dedicated to his craft, and we wish him well on his retirement.  We look forward to welcoming him back to Santa Anita as a fan.”

White, who has been voted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame this year, began his racing career when hired by the Daily Racing Form in 1974 at Playfair Race Course in his hometown of Spokane, Wash. All told, he spent 23 years with the Racing Form — including 12 on the Southern California circuit — as a writer, chart-caller and handicapper.

In 1993, White joined Santa Anita as a television commentator for the track’s simulcast network. In 2002, he became the first on-air host hired by the national television network HRTV.

White has worked as a racing official in three states and his byline has appeared in numerous racing publications as a freelance writer. At the age of 24, he became one of the youngest stewards in the history of American racing when hired by the Washington Horse Racing Commission to serve in that capacity at Yakima Meadows in 1979. He later also worked as a steward at Les Bois Park in Idaho and at Golden Gate Fields, Los Alamitos, Fairplex Park and Ferndale in California.

In addition to the Racing Form, White has written for BloodHorse magazine, California Thoroughbred magazine, Thoroughbred Record magazine, Washington Thoroughbred magazine and Thoroughbred Times. His weekly column has appeared on the website for 20 years. He received the 2019 Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Award from the New York Racing Association for his column about Justify’s run to the 2018 Triple Crown, as well as the 2003 Mark Kaufman Media Award from the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association for his racing and breeding coverage in Washington.

“Of all the thousands of charts I called for the Racing Form starting in 1974, one that I’ll never forget was the 1987 Breeders’ Cup Classic, which had a showdown for Horse of the Year between Kentucky Derby winners Ferdinand and Alysheba,” White said. “In a thriller, Ferdinand won by a nose. With so much on the line, that particular ride by Bill Shoemaker on Ferdinand, to make every right move to win by the smallest of margins, was a masterpiece.”

White has been making the morning line for Del Mar since 2020 and said he is also stepping away from that position. Between Santa Anita and Del Mar, he has made the morning lines for eight Breeders’ Cups. During his time with the Racing Form, he called Breeders’ Cup charts at Santa Anita in 1986 and at Hollywood Park in 1987.

White, who resides in nearby Monrovia, says one thing he would like to do in retirement is travel.

“I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my life,” he said. “I have been to a slew of racetracks and, by the way, I consider Santa Anita to be the most beautiful of them all. I’ve had fun being at an Arc in France, a Melbourne Cup in Australia and two Japan Cups. I have been to 65 different tracks all over the world and am really looking forward to adding to that number in retirement.”

@fatbaldguyracin hits a good % of winners but I have never saw anyone on the roll @jonathanstettin is on. Making very tough game look easy!

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