I know this website is at the early stages. The site, like a good home, will have many things in common
- It will be place to provide enjoyment
- It is a place where you can be honest with yourselves and those you care about
- It will be a place to host and interact with guests who have a common interest
It is because of this that I am choosing tonight to write my first column for the site. Like many, I watched all of the ceremonies related to Tom Durkin’s last week on the job. His retirement was not a ceremonious (almost lame ducklike) retirement that we see too often of the athlete who stayed on one year too long and plays Designated Hitter involving himself in 4 plays per game instead of being active on every pitch or the executive who begins rolling into the office closer to noon than sunrise. Durkin called stakes races until the very end. He chose a 2 year old stakes race as his last effort. Possibly, the last name he called will be called next year as a champion.
What drove me to write these words tonight is that in Durkin’s farewell speech he thanked not the elite of the sport, but rather he thanked those that skip out of work early on a Wednesday to play the late double, those that try to teach the sport to a new generation of fans. Durkin & those fans are the ones we want to visit our site. We want racehorse.com to be a safe haven for those to meet and speak the truth about this game that we love.
What sport has more highs and lows than horse racing? This site will be a place for those people to meet and laugh about winning a shake for a claim, crying about a bad beat, agonizing about that 2 year old that bucks shins, and brainstorming about to get our horses to perform better whether it be improving diet, changing a training method, etc.
Back to Durkin and here is my two cents. A lot of talking heads, writers and callers to the call in shows have all given their favorite Durkin memory. Well, mine is not simply based on a racetrack call, but his words calling a race being used in life. He described Da Hoss’s second Breeders Cup victory as being “the greatest comeback since Lazarus”. Well, 2 weeks ago I was sitting in my office on a rainy day and a friend called. He was lamenting about a night playing blackjack at a local casino the evening before and described his nightly comeback in the same words that Durkin said. I imagined a racetrack bettor hitting a big trifecta to come home with a slight gain for the day.
Thanks Tom for all the memories.
FYI, my favorite Tom Durkin moments (PS it is not racetrack related)