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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Denman Strikes The Front

- Tom Durkin is out as the official track announcer for the Breeders Cup races. His contract with NBC is an exclusive one, and while it will allow him to call the Derby and the Preakness, "ESPN is very interested in developing its own voice for the event," said a Breeders' Cup official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. [DRF] Trevor Denman is being mentioned as a possible replacement, and that would be an excellent choice in my opinion. Denman rarely misses a beat, and he's as good as anyone in the business at picking up horses at the back of the pack that are initiating a meaningful move.

Durkin has been calling the Breeders Cup since its inception in 1984, and it was his race calls from Hollywood Park that day, especially the one for the inaugarual Classic, that really put him on the map. It would be worth the time to go the Breeders' Cup Time Capsule page, and scroll down to hear that call, not to mention to see the classic three horse battle between Wild Again, Gate Dancer, and favored Slew O Gold.

As I recall, Durkin was relatively anonymous at that stage of his career. He'd been calling harness races at the Meadowlands since 1982 (so he certainly wasn't anonymous to me), as well as backing up Dave Johnson during the flat meetings there. It wasn't until 1990 that Durkin got the gig at NYRA, thereby putting an end to the dark ages of Marshall Cassidy, who chilled the racetracks with his wooden calls for 11 years. So NBC was being innovative in tapping into a young talent not known on the national scene. ESPN will apparently go a different route, but if they're looking for a distinctive voice, Denman would be an excellent choice.

1 Comment:

Walter said...

Hi Nick. I thought you might enjoy these reports, since you said the key to betting Cindago were the 7-furlong and mile drills...

CINDAGO (Aug 27, 137.1)

Worked a decent enough mile with C Nak up, getting a bit bored late while encouraged in 23.4, 48.3, 113.1, 137.1. Looking fine off the bench. Grade B-

CINDAGO (Aug 21, 124.2)

Focused and sharp late in this drill going 48.3, 112.1, 124.4 looking willing to the wire late for Sadler. Grade B