Chart Calling Suits Carly Kaiser
Chart Calling Suits Carly Kaiser: Carly Kaiser has come a long way from making epic YouTube videos of horse racing’s best runners.
The 23-year-old Washington native currently works as a chart caller for Equibase at Penn National in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As a student at the University of Louisville, Carly planned to earn a degree that would help her in the horse racing industry, but, as they often do, plans changed.
“I started out in equine administration. It was really cool, but the business didn’t really sync with me. I didn’t really like it. I was mad that I switched, but I graduated with a degree in exercise science in people,” Carly explained. However, her passion for the horse racing industry was far from being abandoned.
Horse racing became an obsession of Carly’s at the young age of twelve when she witnessed Smarty Jones’ heartbreaking Triple Crown bid. Both of her parents encouraged her to watch the Kentucky Derby and, naturally, Smarty Jones’ ensuing run in the Preakness. By the time the Belmont rolled around, Carly was hooked to the sport, and the following years were full of forays to nearby Emerald Downs and creating popular video montages of fan favorites.
Following graduation, Carly made the short move from Louisville over to Lexington to get her hands dirty. On the property of the now-defunct Overbrook Farm, Carly worked as a groom for a pinhooker in the mornings and a breeder in the afternoons. She was responsible for the care of several weanlings for the pinhooker, and at noon she shifted her care to a band of about twenty broodmares. As a groom, her responsibilities were typical, but she also had the opportunity to help out during the foaling season.
As a groom’s job tends to do, Carly was humbled by her nine months of farm work. While describing her experience, she reflected, “I learned a lot of respect for the workers and the animals themselves. A lot of people haven’t had that chance.”
A lot of people also haven’t had a chance to do the work that Carly does now as a chart caller. She even partly joked, “I didn’t know what this was three months ago. It’s one of those things you don’t realize exists, but it does.”
Chart calling is as much an art as it is a method. Typically, a team of two is tasked with the job of keeping track of the location of and distances between each horse in a race, a difficult assignment indeed considering the constant shifting and maneuvering by horses within races. One person calls out the positions of each horse at strategic moments within the race while the other jots them down, along with whatever other details jump out as important. Those notes are then arranged and expanded upon to create the chart’s footnotes and short comments, invaluable information to both the inexperienced and professional bettor.
Carly was interested enough in this vital aspect of the industry that she sought out more information about the job. What started as job shadowing at Churchill Downs turned into a job offer from Equibase, and that is how she ended up at Penn National.
When it comes to her future in the industry, Carly has a tough time picking an end-goal. She’s had an enjoyable few months as a chart caller, but her love for horse racing covers multiple aspects of the industry. Simply enough, Carly wants to ensure that other racing fans experience the sport like she has: “Honestly, I really want to leave a mark on the sport like it has with me. Even if it means something small like writing ‘establishes a record in a tremendous performance’ in a chart like they did for Secretariat’s Belmont, as long as it is something that I did myself that people know, even if they don’t know it was me specifically who did it, I will walk away happy.”