Showing posts with label Tom Durkin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tom Durkin. Show all posts

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I am Afriad of Eskendereya

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

One quotation that has always struck me as being expertly descriptive was one I saw on VH1, actually. It was either I love the 80's or a special about NWA but ?uestlove of the Roots was being asked about what he thought about NWA's in-your-face style and intimidating demeanor demonstrated especially by NWA member Ice Cube. His answer?

"I thought Ice Cube was going to come to my house and fuck me up."

I kept thinking about that quotation after watching Eskendereya's performance in Saturday's Kentucky Derby prep, The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Tom Durkin doing a great job as always with the call.

That wasn't Eskendereya's first time romping in a quality derby prep. It also wasn't the first time I have mentioned Eskendereya. Next stop for Eskendereya? The Kentucky Derby, where he will be the heavy favorite, and for good reason. He looks like a total monster that no horse will look forward to facing in the Derby.

I just hope Eskendereya doesn't come to my house and challenge me to a mile and quarter race and fuck me up.

update: I just read that Eskendereya got a Beyer speed figure of 109 for the Wood Memorial. He may have won the Derby and the Wood in the same day. Wow.

update update: I was wondering what Eskendereya's name meant. This SI article answered it:

"The name is the Arab translation for the Egyptian port city of Alexandria. Eskendereya also is defined as a flirty Alexandrian dance with a heavy veil, according to a bellydance glossary of Middle Eastern dance teminologies."

Now you know.

That's how I roll.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tom Durkin Interview

By: T.R. Slyder,

You probably have to be a horse racingophile to appreciate this video, but I'm posting it anyway. is now featuring an entertaining interview with Belmont Stakes (among other races and tracks) announcer, Tom Durkin (whom I previously saluted). They talk about his preparation, strategies and do go over a few specific calls.

The most fascinating tidbit was when Durkin said that he was so confident that Smarty Jones would win the Belmont that the night before the race, he went down to the track and measured out 31 lengths, by hand, from the wire and put a piece of red tape against the rail to mark it. That distance is significant in Belmont Stakes history because it's the biggest margin of victory ever at that race, and was done by Secretariat. There is also another good image of it here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

T.R. Salutes: Tom Durkin- UPDATED

By: T.R. Slyder,

He's a horse racing announcer for Saratoga, Belmont, and (I think still) Aqueduct. I think he still does the KY Derby and he has done the Breeder's Cup for several years but didn't renew his contract to do so starting in like 2005. It's probably better that I stop winging it and let you read his Wikipedia profile. The point is, he's awesome. Not that it is surprising, since he's from Chicago.

He's a consummate professional, though rarely consummates his relationships with other professionals while he is working, especially while eating consumme. His knowledge of the sport is extensive, and he always manages to mix in just enough silliness when necessary, to remind us all that we are watching horse racing for the purpose of having fun.

Since I don't know a whole lot about the guy, so my salutation of him will have to be primarily via YouTube replays of his most memorable calls. In a way, I feel sheepish about posting these because they're basically his funniest moments, and he doesn't fancy himself any kind of comedian. After decades of flawless announcing these moments of whimsy are anamolies, but memorable and likable all the same.

9/5/09 UPDATEUPDATE: We have an unprecedented INSTANT CLASSIC. This is Rachel Alexandra in the Woodward from 9/5/09. You can read more about the race here.

UPDATE: I TOTALLY forgot about this one and it's in my top 3 favorite of his calls. The 2004 Belmont Stakes where the horse racing world was positive that Smarty Jones was going to win the triple crown and everyone was cheering him on. He was a feel-good story for a lot of reasons and everyone was thoroughly prepared to explode with delight. I was at that race that day, the attendance was 120,000 which broke the previous record of 100,000. If I recall correctly, as I always do, that was the day Ronald Regan died. Anyway, you can hear in Durkin's voice how exuberant he is when it looks like Smarty will win ("'s been 26 years...."), and how crestfallen he is when he utters, "...Birdstone wins the Belmont Stakes." This and the call in the last clip of the bunch are masterpieces of race calling, and of letting your human-side into your voice, but not your comments.


A horse with a stupidly long name

"No need to call it" a good example of a less humorous call, but one that illustrates his appreciation for the sport.

Durkin's memorable call of a VERY foggy race. This couldn't have been done any better.

He was in fine voice for a horse named Doremifasolatido

Ohnoitsmymothernlaw- Good race, funny call.

Finally is my favorite sports announcing job ever, and it was done by Mr. Durkin. Allow me to put this race in context for you. The race is the Breeder's Cup Classic which is the biggest horse race of the year, monetarily, in North America. Horses come from all over the world for this race, and this is the one race every single trainer wants to win. Also note that it was on 10/27/2001, making it the first major sporting event after 9/11. While baseball and football regular season vailiantly played immediately after 9/11, those were regular season games. No major sport had had a post season yet, and the Breeder's Cup is like the entire playoffs in one day, culminating in the Breeder's Cup Classic. Furthering the patriotic undertones, several of the favorites for this race were European horses, with Tiznow being America's hope, basically. Tizow won this race last year, and if he could somehow manage to upset the favored European invaders, he would become the first horse to repeat as winner of the BC Classic. Oh, I forget to mention that this race took place in Belmont Park, a track located in New York City. It was almost the horse-racing vesion of Rocky against Drago, but on American soil. I think you'll find that Tiznow showed determination of Balboan proportion in the race as well. Here is Tom Durkin's call, my favorite call in the history of sports. Tiznow is wearing pink.