Will Del Mar Horseplayers Double Their Pleasure?
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, July 11, 2014—There’s a rumor being circulated on the Internet that the Thoroughbred Owners of California are considering a return to the higher takeout rates on Daily Doubles currently in place at Del Mar.
This can’t possibly be true, can it? Don’t they read newspapers out there? Has Internet commentary and social media reached lower California yet?
Hasn’t any owner out West ever heard of Churchill Downs?
Takeout deniers, much like climate change “non-scientists,” believe more in spin than science, coincidence over statistics, and obfuscation over progress. However anyone spins it, the Churchill Downs boycott was largely responsible for handle losses of $48-millionat the 2014 spring meet.
The Dow Jones is hovering around 17,000 for a while now, California Chrome gave the sport a bounce, in a Wall Street sense, this spring, and fields are smaller everywhere.
So, what else could it be?
Tom Durkin: Often Imitated, Never Duplicated
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY, June 22, 2014---Allegiance to present day race callers very often is a matter of taste, like appreciating a fine wine, a movie, favorite athlete, etc., etc.
Consequently, it follows that provincialism plays a huge role in formulating those preferences, just as one would for a favorite horse or jockey: Seabiscuit or War Admiral; Shoemaker or Arcaro; Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra?
And, so, when it comes to con the world of contemporary race callers, the majority of racing fans are aligned in two camps: Denman or Durkin?
Personally, it’s impossible for me to remain neutral. I, like so many others who have crossed paths with Tom Durkin during his 43-year career, consider him a cherished friend.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t strive for objectivity.
I have not listened to Denman’s calls nearly as many times as I’ve heard Durkin’s. But I can’t imagine, even if the coasts were reversed, I would remember as many of Trevor's calls as I would Tom’s.
Twenty-four Breeders’ Cups and 11 Triple Crowns has given Durkin far more opportunities to voice racing’s most memorable events, and he has had more than his share of “moving like a tremendous machine” moments:
There was Easy Goer and Sunday Silence “in a racing epic,” the Real Quiet-Victory Gallop Belmont photo: “a picture is worth a thousand words, this photo is worth five million dollars; history... in the waiting.”
And, of course, Smarty Jones’ crushing Triple Crown bid, marked by Durkin’s diminishing crescendo as he informed 120,000 fans “Birdstone wins the Belmont Stakes.”