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Last call for horse racing announcer Tom Durkin

Friday, August 29, 2014
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Tom Durkin looks down at the homestretch while calling the first race of the day at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. in May 2008.
Tom Durkin looks down at the homestretch while calling the first race of the day at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. in May 2008.

— It's last call for Tom Durkin.

The voice of horse racing on the New York circuit is silencing himself on Sunday, retiring after a 43-year career in which he also announced Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup races.

Durkin's last call will come in the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga in upstate New York. Sunday will be declared "Tom Durkin Day" in Saratoga Springs.

The 63-year-old announcer's career began with a lie. A friend of Durkin pitched him to a man looking for someone to call the races at a county fair meet in Wisconsin, explaining that Durkin was the assistant track announcer at Arlington Park outside Chicago.

No such job existed, but Durkin got the small-town gig in 1971 and he's been calling races ever since.

 
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