A few weeks ago ThoroFan member Bryan Langlois, DVM, started a petition toinclude recently retired track announcer Tom Durkin into the Hall of Fame under the “Pillars of the Turf” category inaugurated in 2013. When I was alerted of Dr. Langlois’ efforts to immortalize Durkin's career, part of me was surprised that no track announcer had been honored at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
As I mentioned to ThoroFan Chairman Michael Amo, Durkin’s inclusion is a “no-brainer” to me. A race caller for over 40 years, he was the original voice calling the Breeders’ Cup since the inaugural running at Hollywood Park in 1984. His distinctive voice graced many a Triple Crown race and Durkin was the voice of the New York Racing Association from 1990 until August 31, 2014, retiring before the end of the Saratoga meeting.
Among the most memorable “Durkinisms” for me were:
“Ferdinand has the lead; Alysheba a final surge…the two Derby winners hit the wire together!”
“Coming to the final furlong, Sunday Silence surges to the front, Blushing John trying to fight back; Easy Goer with one, final acceleration…and Sunday Silence holds on, and he wins by a desperate neck. Easy Goer was too late.”
“…here is Arcangues winning it in an absolute shocker, he’s 99-1 in the $3 million Classic!”
“The unconquerable, invincible, unbeatable…CIGAR!”
“Here’s the Arc winner Sakhee, and he storms to the lead; Sakhee a narrow lead, and Tiznow is battling on. The American Horse of the Year and the Arc winner are heads apart with a furlong to go in the Classic. On the outside Sakhee, Tiznow fights on…here’s the wire, desperately close…TIZNOW WINS IT FOR AMERICA!!!”
“…and they’re coming down to the finish, and it’s Pleasantly Perfect…Man O’ Mandella, what a day!
“Rachel won; she is indeed, RACHEL ALEXANDRA…THE GREAT!”
Please consider signing Dr. Langlois’ petition, an effort to make Tom Durkin’s memorable contributions to thoroughbred racing part of The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.
My tribute to Durkin can be read here.