NEW YORK – Today, FOX Sports announced the return of horse racing legend Tom Durkin to the booth for the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets on Saturday, June 10.
Known as a master of the art of race calling with an unrivaled sense of timing and flair for the dramatic, Durkin called some 80,000 races during his storied 43-year career, the last 24 years of which he spent as the NYRA announcer before his retirement in 2014.
“The Belmont Stakes has been an iconic part of sports culture for more than 150 years, “said Durkin. “There is nothing like the energy and enthusiasm around Belmont Park with a Triple Crown on the line. It is the apotheosis of excitement.”
In addition to calling the Belmont Stakes, Durkin will announce all races aired during the network’s Belmont Stakes Day coverage on FOX – scheduled for 4:00-7:30 PM ET on Saturday, June 10. FOX Sports presents the Belmont Stakes for the first time in 2023 as part of the agreement establishing the network as the home of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival through 2030.
“We are honored to have the legendary Tom Durkin return for the Belmont Stakes this year,” said FOX Sports President of Production/Operations and Executive Producer Brad Zager. “When it became official that an iconic piece of the historic Triple Crown would air on FOX, we knew it could only be complete with Tom’s voice as the soundtrack.”
Born in Chicago, Durkin studied theatre at St. Norbert College and began calling races at county fairs in Wisconsin in the summer of 1971. In 1975, he moved on to announce at a string of small Midwestern tracks, before landing the job at famed Hialeah Race Course in 1981. Three years later, Durkin became the announcer for the Breeders’ Cup, a position he held until 2005, and gained further prominence calling the Triple Crown for a decade beginning in 2001.
“The stretch duel of the 1998 Belmont Stakes remains the most thrilling race I have ever had the privilege to call,” added Durkin. “Those are the kinds of races and individual moments that stay with us forever, and I can’t wait to give it another go come June 10.”
Just prior to his retirement, The New York Times referred to Durkin as “the man widely considered the greatest race caller in the history of thoroughbred racing.” In 2015, Durkin was honored with the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in the sport of thoroughbred racing.
An American tradition inaugurated in 1867 at Jerome Park Racetrack and moved in 1905 to its now familiar home at Belmont Park, the Belmont Stakes has provided fans with some of the most exciting moments in sports history. From Secretariat’s spellbinding 31-length victory in 1973 to American Pharoah successfully ending a 37-year Triple Crown drought in 2015, the Belmont Stakes is engrained in the consciousness of sports fans around the world.
2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown triumph, which will be commemorated throughout the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.