05/22/2015 10:31 EDT | Updated 05/22/2016 05:59 EDT

Geller to succeed veteran Loiselle as race-caller at Woodbine Racetrack

TORONTO, ONTARIO, - Robert Geller will succeed veteran Dan Loiselle as Woodbine Racetrack's thoroughbred race-caller.

Woodbine Entertainment Group made the announcement Friday. Geller, the former track announcer at Emerald Downs Racetrack, is scheduled to call his first race at Woodbine on June 13.

"Woodbine Entertainment Group has been blessed with the distinctive tones of Dan Loiselle, truly the voice of Canadian racing, for nearly three decades," Jim Lawson, WEG's chief executive officer, said in a statement. "Robert is a seasoned race caller, with a wealth of international experience having called races in Australia and Hong Kong, and we are delighted he has chosen to bring his unique talents to Canada."

Loiselle, a 63-year-old Toronto native, will retire May 31 after a 29-year career. Woodbine racing analyst Dawn Lupul and backup announcer Greg Blanchard will split race-calling duties prior to Geller's arrival.

Geller, 55, was born in Birmingham, England, but moved to Melbourne, Australia, with his family before the age of four. There, he regularly attended races growing up and his grandfather was former bookmaker in Brighton, England.

He began calling races in 1984 in Australia and also spent more than six years as the English-speaking race-caller at Hong Kong's Happy Valley and Sha Tin.

In 1996, he became the track announcer at Emerald Downs in Washington state. Since its 2000-01 season, Geller has also taken on announcer duties at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino in New Mexico and will continue in that capacity.

"Ever since my first visit to Toronto in 1993 when I saw Peteski win the Queen's Plate, I have felt an affinity for the track and the city. To be asked to follow on from Dan Loiselle as the next voice of Woodbine is an honour," said Geller. "I am especially excited to call turf races again.

"I look forward to bringing my years of experience to such a world-renowned track and to build on the skills that I have developed through both Emerald Downs and Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino, as a new member of its dynamic broadcast team."

Geller will call his first Queen's Plate on July 5 at Woodbine. It will mark the first time since 1987 that someone other than Loiselle will be in the announcer's booth for North America's longest continuously run stakes race.

"Robert is an elite announcer and a class act, and I wish him the very best," said Loiselle. "It has been an absolute honour for me to announce Canada's greatest races, and I am confident Robert will be embraced by Canadian racing fans, and will find a tremendous following in this country."