By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Dan Jukich was just a toddler when his father took him on a tour of the backstretch at Hastings. The late Roy Jukich Sr. knew his way around the grounds because covering thoroughbred racing was one of his many beats as a sports reporter for the Vancouver Sun in the 1960’s.
“I practically grew up at the track,” Dan says. “I was from Vancouver’s east end and spent a lot of time hanging around the barns.”
He was seven years old when he was first introduced to legendary race caller Jack Short, who asked the wide-eyed youngster what he wanted to be when he grew up. “I told him I wanted his job,” Dan recalls.
Regular racing fans don’t have to be reminded the same Dan Jukich is celebrating his 28th year behind the microphone high above track level in his broadcast booth that has become a second home.
Not only did he realize his boyhood dream of succeeding Jack Short as track announcer at Hastings, on the evening of May 23 at the Vancouver Convention Centre Jukich will be joining the late Mr. Short in the BC Sports Hall of Fame as a 2019 inductee in the Media Category.
He will be among an impressive list of inductees that includes, among others, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Ken Holland, Tony Waiters, Roy Gerela, Ron Toigo and the 1968 Mann Cup lacrosse champion New Westminster Salmonbellies.
Jukich, named to the BC Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2015, has called an estimated 20,000 thoroughbred races at Hastings, not to mention guest appearances at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Emerald Downs in Washington and Albuquerque Downs in New Mexico. Next to Jack Short, Dan is the longest-serving track announcer in Hastings’ history.
He’s also been calling the standardbred races at Fraser Downs in Cloverdale since 1978.
“I have the best job in the world and I’m happy to do just about anything to help bring people together to enjoy our great industry,” Dan says.
He becomes only the fourth BC Sports Hall of Fame inductee representing horse racing. Besides Jack Short, there are jockeys Hedley Woodhouse (1979) and Chris Loseth (2009).
‘Juke’ as he’s known throughout Hastings, will no doubt carry the torch in first-class fashion.