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.
Tom Durkin has called plenty of upsets over the years. Sarava at 70-1 in the 2002 Belmont and Arcangues in the 1993 Classic at 133-1, come to mind. However, the most monumental of all upsets narrated by Durkin may have occurred at Gulfstream Park during the 1996 Fountain of Youth. Classy Derby contenders Editor’s Note and Unbridled Song (the 1995 BC Juvenile winner) dominated pre-race headlines. But a $40,000 yearling purchase, Built for Pleasure, who vanned to the track from Calder just hours before the race, rumbled home to a half a length victory at 143-1. Trained by then 78 year old Texas based trainer Thomas Heard and ridden by Gary Boulanger, Built For Pleasure returned $288.20.
Durkin could see the potential tote board explosion at the sixteenth pole and was prepared as always (even for the imposible) when Built For Pleasure crossed the wire first. “99-1 is impossible!” And our favorite: “The board says 99-1. That’s the minimum price!”