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.
One of this Thorobros favorite calls did not involve a blanket finish. There was no epic stretch drive. The most exciting part of this race occurred at the quarter pole as California’s star juvenile colt was challenged by the best of France. “The stage is set,” Tom Durkin called.
In 1991 Allen Pauslon sent his $350,000 yearling purchase (bought from the owner of the Bills) to France. Arazi won six of seven starts, all on grass, and was shipped to Churchill for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and a show down with Bertrando, a future Eclipse winner.
Arazi drew post 14 and spotted the field a dozen lengths. It didn’t matter. Pat Valenzuela weaved Arazi through traffic on the backstretch and as they came around the turn, Durkin prepared himself for a battle. “The stage is set.” But then the undersized Euro surprised everyone, Durkin included.