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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (11/15/08)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542


A Strange Segue For a Multitalented Individual

Bob Nastanovich
Bob Nastanovich Photo courtesy Will Rogers
And not entirely true…It was more indie rock. Bob Nastanovich, the current chart caller for Equibase, America’s official horse racing database, at Hawthorne and Prairie Meadows, has his own Wikipedia page, and not because of horse racing.

You see, Bob was the drummer and vocalist for the famous indie band, Pavement. He also played with Ectoslavia, Pale Horse Riders, and occasionally plays percussion and keyboard for the Silver Jews. But, it was for Pavement that Nastanovich is best known.

Nastanovich, upon his introduction to the band in 1990, performed many functions in the band, namely adding backing vocals, percussion, harmonica, and effects based keyboard. Bob Nastanovich's part in the band may seem trivial but his stage presence added great depth to Pavement's live performances. His importance could be further gauged by the forfeiture of Stephen Malkmus of key vocals in songs such 'Debris Slide' and 'Conduit for Sale', both Nastanovich staples on tour. His trademark scream is savored by many Pavement fans. His role on stage, along with the scream, is said to have influenced the Blur hit, Song 2.

However, other than occasional gigs with Silver Jews and sporadic walk-ons with a number of other bands, Bob is now a full-time race-tracker. He was the former agent for jockeys Greta Kuntzweiler and Joe Johnson. However, as mentioned above, he’s a full-time Equibase chart caller (That’s where Rock Hard Candy comes in); that is, it’s Bob, and others like him, that pretty much generate the past performances used in track programs and publications such as the Daily Racing Form.

Bob dictates, to the call taker, what is happening during the course of each race. He observes where runners are at certain points during the race (those points change with different distances and surfaces) and notes aspects about each horse’s trip. After the race is over, he reviews a videotape, makes corrections in his call, if any are needed, then proceeds to write chart footnotes, giving at least a brief explanation of what happened during the course of the race. He does that for every horse in every race.

But, there’s even more to Bob, He’s an owner, a breeder, and public handicapper for a Prairie Meadows tip sheet.

However, his proudest moment in racing came here at Hawthorne. He convinced trainer Mike Maker that Freefourinternet had a legitimate chance to upset in the into the 2004 Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup. He also secured the mount for Greta Kuntzweiler. Freefourinternet ($56) scored in that $750,000 race and Bob scored a quick $12,000 for his share as Greta’s agent.

“ I got into racing in an interesting way. When I was five years old, growing up in Richmond Virginia, the principal of my school was Alan Chenery, the brother of Penny Chenery, who owned the incomparable Secretariat. So, my whole school was adorned with Secretariat stuff.”

“When I was a teenager, I would travel to Charles Town and bet the races there. Then, when I traveled with Pavement in Europe, I really got into betting on English races. I went to 55 of the 59 British race courses.”

“I started buying horses when I made money with Pavement. It seemed like a bigger gamble than betting on them. The most horses I ever owned at one time was 12. They were all based in Kentucky. Now I only have two pregnant mares and a baby.”

Nastanovich won 21 races as an owner and bred Spanish Town, a Jamaican track-record holder, but really hasn’t been all that successful with either endeavor.

“The best horse I ever owned was a filly named Drink Bubbly. She won a $25,000 claimer during Derby week at Churchill. I’ve never won an allowance race. But, I’m still trying.”

Hawthorne Race Course began its Fall/Winter Thoroughbred meet on Friday, September 26, 2008 and will continue through January 11, 2009. Post time on Fridays through November 28 will be at 2:35 pm central time. Post time on all other cards will be 1:35 pm central time. Dark days will be Mondays and Tuesdays. We are located at 3501 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at




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