All posts by SKB

40 Days of Durkin: Wednesday, July 23

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.

In the spirit of today’s post position draw for Saturday’s jockey foot race, organized by NYRA as part of its participation in a national day of awareness for the PDJF, we bring to you rare footage of the last jockey foot race held at Saratoga in 1995. 

Many have said Durkin could announce anything and make it interesting. This video may be proof.  So many great lines:

“The morning line favorite has to be Frankie Lovato Jr. in post 13 with the addition of mud caulks.”

“And in red there is our outrider, Jean Luc Samyn. They’re going all of about 100 yards”

“And there they go, Bailey fell on his face out of the gate, on the far outside here comes Shane Sellers.”

and our favorite:  “We just received a call, the inquiry sign is on, an inquiry has been posted…into the entire proceedings.”

The race starts at the two minute mark.

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40 Days of Durkin–Monday, July 21

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.

In honor of Monday–a foggy day for most as they dust off the weekend cobwebs and march into work–we’re recalling Durkin’s infamous Aqueduct fog call from 2009.

Although there was no dramatic stretch duel and he incorrectly identified the leader at the top of the turn, this call features some textbook Durkin one-liners such as:

“Nothing more beautiful.  Whooo, they’re going fast too.  21 and 1 for the opening quarter.  Wish I could see them.” and

“And Shotgun Holiday was third in a magnificently run event.”

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40 Days of Durkin–Sunday, July 20

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.

In honor of today’s Coaching Club American Oaks, we take a look back at the 2011 edition, which featured a small but star studded field including Plum Pretty, It’s Tricky, Joyful Victory, and Royal Delta.  Although all three Thorobros were all in attendance at Saratoga that day, I did not recall this being such a good stretch battle between Plum Pretty and It’s Tricky. In fairness, it was this Thorbro’s bachelor party and the effects of an aggressive Friday night at Gaffney’s had spilled over to Saturday.

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40 Days of Durkin–Saturday, July 19

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.

“He’s 88 to 1!!!!”

Although he may have been slightly delayed on calling Slambino’s monster run down the lane (tough to blame him though given the unbelievable acceleration in the final sixteenth), Durkin more than salvaged the call with an epic declaration after they crossed the wire.

Here’s to an upset of Slambino-type proportions today at the Spa!

 

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40 Days of Durkin–Friday, July 18

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 Saratoga meet.

We begin with what Durkin has described as his most memorable Travers.  As Durkin said in a Q and A with DRF in 2011:

“One of the great performances I think I’ve ever seen from any horse was Holy Bull. Wayne Lukas sent out Commanche Trail as a rabbit for Tabasco Cat, and they went in 22 and change. Holy Bull was never meant to be a mile-and-a-quarter horse. By Great Above, out of Sharon Brown? Come on. People thought since he didn’t win the Derby he wasn’t a mile-and-a-quarter horse, and then he takes that punishment, and then here comes Concern, who goes on and wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic, and Holy Bull beat him. That was one of the great Travers ever.”

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Marketing Mix: Promotion of the Week—Los Alamitos and the California Chrome Good Luck Card

Most horse racing fans would agree that race tracks, especially smaller market tracks, need to improve their marketing campaigns in order to attract fans.  How the small market tracks achieve marketing success, however, is debatable.  Every Tuesday, in Marketing Mix, we will analyze a race track promotion from the week before, examining why it worked or why it failed, and whether it furthers the goal of promoting the sport.

No race track is enjoying more positive PR right now than Los Alamitos.  Much like Philadelphia Park benefited from Smarty Jones’ 2004 Triple Crown pursuit, Los Al’s is receiving similar attention as California Chrome’s home base.   Los Al’s marketing department has recognized this unique opportunity and is capitalizing. Continue reading Marketing Mix: Promotion of the Week—Los Alamitos and the California Chrome Good Luck Card

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Want to Run a Meet? The Colonial Downs Saga Continues

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Talks between Colonial Downs and the Virginia Horsemen have broken down just four days before the deadline the set by the Virginia Racing Commission for the parties to reach an agreement.  While the “deadline” may be more of an attempted motivator than a “hell or high- water” cutoff, the two sides continued inability to reach a compromise increases the likelihood that Colonial Downs will be without thorobred racing this summer and fall.   That is unless another group of horsemen form and answer Colonial’s offer.  Continue reading Want to Run a Meet? The Colonial Downs Saga Continues

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