LAUREL -- Laurel Race Course management said yesterday that a South African announcer, Jehan Malherbe, will begin a tryout as race caller Dec. 1. He will call the races through Christmas.
The announcement said the tryout will be a "prelude for a possible permanent position as announcer at Laurel and Pimlico."
Malherbe, 34, succeeds Milo Perrins, who announced his resignation Friday to return to New Mexico as the caller at tracks in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Santa Anita Park started the trend of hiring foreign announcers by bringing Trevor Denman from South Africa. Denman also took the Del Mar job in California.
Hollywood Park, unable to break Denman's exclusive contract with Santa Anita, hired Michael Wrona of Australia.
Denman has worked part of the past two spring meetings at Pimlico Race Course, but the Maryland tracks could not lure him from California full time.
The new announcer's name is pronounced Zhee-HAN Mal-HER-be. He has been the regular caller at two tracks -- Kenilworth and Milnerton -- near Cape Town, and also announces at a minor track, Durbanville.
"The races here [in South Africa] run year-round, usually two or three days a week," Malherbe said from his home in Cape Town. "The average race has 12 to 15 in the field and a maximum of 20.
"I've met Trevor [Denman], but I would have to say I'm not in his class. I attempt to be."
Malherbe said he visited the Meadowlands during a vacation in 1988, and "Dave Johnson [the track announcer] was kind enough to let me call one race. It was interesting."
* Steven Crist has resigned as racing writer of The New York Times to be editor-in-chief of the Racing Times, scheduled to start publishing in about March as competition to the Daily Racing Form.
Racing Times will be operated by Robert Maxwell, an international publisher who owns several papers in the United Kingdom, including the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror.
One of his papers is Sporting Life, which provides past performances to English and Irish racing fans.
Racing Times will include past performances compiled last year by Figs Form, a publication that folded after a brief run. Its chart makers have continued working at tracks around the country.
Keith Feustle, who worked for Figs Form in Maryland, has been compiling charts in the grandstand at Laurel and Pimlico.
* No Such, a mare who won her first race in two years Wednesday night at Charles Town race track, suffered a broken neck and was killed when the trailer she was riding back to Bel Air in came loose from a truck and turned over on the Baltimore Beltway.
"The trailer came right off the ball," said trainer Clinton Bratton, referring to the trailer hitch. "She had paid $30.80 for winning. She was an old-class mare we've had for about a year."
Bratton, who is from Bel Air, said the mare was not insured. She had raced in $2,500 claiming events recently.