Tom Durkin to Give Personalized Museum of Racing Tours

The Life
Retired longtime racecaller Tom Durkin will give tours of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame again this summer.
Retired longtime racecaller Tom Durkin will give tours of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame again this summer. (Adam Coglianese/NYRA)

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Retired racecaller Tom Durkin, one of the most recognizable and vibrant personalities in the history of American Thoroughbred racing, will lead personalized tours of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame throughout the Saratoga Race Course meeting this summer from July 20 through Sept. 3.

Tours will be from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday through Sunday with a cost of $20 for Museum members and $25 for non-members (includes Museum admission). Tours will be limited to 15 people and reservations are required. This is the third year Durkin will lead tours of the Museum. Durkin will be highlighting various aspects of the Museum and its collection, including the new The Test of the Champion exhibit celebrating 150 years of the Belmont Stakes, and relating personal anecdotes from his distinguished career in racing.

“These tours have been extremely popular and we’re thrilled to have Tom as part of our team here at the Museum providing his unique style to the Museum experience,” said Cathy Marino, the Museum’s director. “Tom is a terrific storyteller and he really helps bring to life the great history of thoroughbred racing and all the wonderful features of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.”

Durkin retired from calling races after the 2014 Saratoga meet, capping a remarkable 43-year career. A Chicago native, Durkin studied theatre at St. Norbert College and began calling races at county fairs in Wisconsin during the summer of 1971. In 1975, he moved on to ply his trade at a string of small tracks, including Cahokia Downs, Balmoral Race Course, Quad City Downs, and Miles Park, before landing the job at Miami’s Hialeah Race Course in 1981. Three years later, he was hired as the announcer for the Breeders’ Cup, a job he held until 2005, and gained further fame calling the Triple Crown races for a decade beginning in 2001. Durkin was the regular track announcer at the New York Racing Association tracks from 1990 until his retirement.

Tour reservations can be made by calling the Museum at (518) 584-0400 ext. 107. There will be no Durkin-led tours on Mondays or Tuesdays or Aug. 3 and Aug. 15.

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