A Pioneer in Horse Races that could actually ride!
Gil is perhaps best known for his work as a sportscaster. He interviewed the best of the best, including Bill (Willie) Shoemaker who held the world record for total professional jockey victories for 29 years. He signed this picture at right “To Gil Stratton, one of the best jockeys of the Sportscasters.”
Gil’s work crossed over from radio to television to out in the field and track and then back to radio again. He was a beloved voice at the horse races and called them at Kentucky Derbys, Feature races from Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar. Not only did he love watching sports though, he also participated. He could ride well, as was evidenced by his first place win at the Sportscaster’s Harness Race at Hollywood Park in 1962.
Gil Stratton was there at the dawn of Sports programming. Sports on TV are pervasive today because of satellite technology, but were in their infancy in the 1960’s. Gil was one of the first to do remote broadcasts with the KNX mobile unit in 1958 at the LA Open Golf Tournament. Long before specialized cable TV sports shows, Gil hosted a Saturday afternoon racing show in Los Angeles that went out to all major Western markets. He was also one of the first news entertainment personalities to conquer both the television and radio airwaves simultaneously.