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.
Today, we look at one of the most athletic performances in recent memory. Afleet Alex, a favorite in Giacomo’s Derby, came back in the 2005 Preakness and was making a tremendous run towards the lead on the turn. Just as he came up on the leader, Scrappy T, that horse bore out into his path. Scrappy T and Afleet Alex clipped heels. Afleet Alex went to his knees at the top of the stretch. Jockey Jeremy Rose was all out just to stay in the saddle.
However, Afleet Alex was not to be denied. He regained his footing, and continued pass Scrappy T and on to win the 130th Preakness by 5 lengths. Tom Durkin’s call showed the concern for everyone else who watched that race. And his exclamation after the wire, talking about Jeremy Rose’s mindset was on point.
This race was named 2005 NTRA moment of the year, for obvious reasons. The impressive athleticism of horse and jockey were on display, and Durkin provided the backdrop for a dramatic performance for the ages.