Diakun Psyched For Bet Night Live
Published: May 31, 2010 10:38 am ET
Last Comment: June 6, 2010 10:20 am ET | 15 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments
When Bet Night Live debuts tonight from Mohawk Racetrack, The Score's Laura Diakun will be her normal inquisitive self as one of the show's full-time co-hosts on Monday and Wednesday nights.
Diakun should be familiar to harness racing fans from her role as the in-studio sports anchor during Race Night on The Score's interspersed highlight and update segments. In a recent interview with Trot Insider, Diakun described her position as on-air talent with The Score as a dream come true.
"I've always been a huge fan of sports, I actually started playing golf with my Dad when I was eight," said the 27-year-old Torontonian. "I just started paying more and more attention to sports the older I got. If I was bored, I'd watch a game and learn the rules myself. Plus ever since I was little, I wanted to be on TV in some capacity. I would always try and get in front of the camera - I was never very shy. But sports broadcasting was never something that I thought would actually happen to me."
While she was enrolled at University of Toronto and studying law, a family friend gave Diakun information on an intern position with The Score.
"I missed out on the deadline that year and kind of thought that was it, but the next term I tried again, got an interview and began working as an intern. That was six years ago! I'm really lucky to get to work at a place where you're encouraged to watch sports and talk about sports with 25 other people who like sports as much as you do. It's a great conversation starter!"
In that time, Laura's roles have included updating The Score's sports ticker, working in the newsroom as an assignment editor, assembling and voicing highlights and hosting the sports segment on Global News Toronto.
"I owe it all to hard work and to those people who saw potential in me and were willing to take a chance on someone with no experience."
As Senior Television Producer Rob Platts told Trot Radio last week, Diakun and WEG's Chad Rozema will co-host Bet Night Live. When subject matter gets overly technical, Diakun's job is to ask questions much like the ones viewers new to racing would ask.
"I can definitely relate to the casual viewer at home. I don't know a lot about horse racing but I'm willing to learn and I like asking questions and that's exactly what WEG's looking for in a host for this particular show," Diakun told Trot Insider. "Plus I was already familiar with the company and the hosts - so it seemed like a pretty good fit.
"The people I work with on Bet Night Live are so passionate about the sport (and so knowledgeable) that it's hard not to be a sponge and take in some of the information. I definitely am starting to get more familiar with the sport - that's for sure. I'm noticing articles and stories about horse racing everywhere since I started this new job! When there are articles in the newspaper about a particular jockey or a horse (especially in Canada) I actually know who they're talking about now," said Diakun with a laugh.
Even though most of her exposure prior to Race Night and Bet Night was the Kentucky Derby - which, according to Laura, is "the most exciting two minutes in sports" - Diakun can see the appeal of horse racing and hasn't ruled out owning a racehorse in the future.
"What's great about horse racing, especially from a bettors' perspective, is that you always have a chance to win - and there really is nothing more exciting than having your horse win a race! Even if it's just picking a horse for fun, you can really get into it. There are a lot of passionate and extremely knowledgeable people involved in the horse racing community and it's been really great to be a part of it."
After weeks of rehearsals, Diakun is eager for Bet Night Live to debut with the new format guaranteeing weekly prizes and a grand prize trip to Las Vegas.
"I'm really excited for the show to hit the air. A lot of people have put a lot of work into Bet Night Live and I'm honoured to be involved with it," said Diakun. "It's going to be great for the audience to have horse racing back on The Score and it's a totally different show than Race Night. And really, who doesn't want a chance to win money? Chad and I (along with all the other hosts/analysts) get along great - and we have a lot of fun doing the show. Hopefully that comes across on screen."