In honor of Tom Durkin’s retirement from race calling on August 31, we are taking a look back at 40 of his most memorable calls–one for each day of the 2014 Saratoga meet.
It was July 4, 2008. The fourth race at Belmont Park. Perhaps Tom was excited about the holiday, or perhaps he had recently seen “The Sound of Music.” Either way, a horse was entered named Doremifasollatido, and the greatest racing announcer of all time was not about to miss the opportunity.
Tom Durkin didn’t grow up around the racetrack — in fact, he’s allergic to horses. He became interested in the art of race calling because of Chicago track announcer Phil Georgeff. In fact, in the foreword to Georgeff’s autobiography, “And They’re Off,” Tom Durkin wrote “When I grew up, I wanted to be Phil Georgeff.”
Prior to following in Georgeff’s footsteps, however, Tom Durkin studied drama at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. I am not sure whether he took any singing classes as part of his coursework at St. Norbert, but if he did, it was of great use to him as he described Doremifasollatido drawing away on Independence Day: