THE TRIPLE CROWN RACE CALLERS

Tom Durkin has resigned as NBC-TV’s announcer for the Triple Crown races, citing the stress and anxiety that the assignment caused. He has called the last 13 Kentucky Derbys. Larry Collmus, the 44-year-old track announcer at Monmouth Park and Gulfstream Park, will assume the duties. A distinguished list of announcers have brought the Triple Crown races to countless people, on both the radio and television.

The men who have called the Triple Crown races have painted vivid pictures, particularly before the days of television. Listening to legendary announcers with distinctive voices and styles–like Clem McCarthy, Brian Field, and Fred Capossela–still brings a thrill for racing fans even after all these years. These men were lost to history long before the majority of today’s audience for the Kentucky Derby were born.

On Kentucky Derby Day 2011, Horse Racing Business honors the retiring Tom Durkin and some of his predecessors. The first link below takes you to many of the radio broadcasts, beginning as far back as 1936, on Louisville’s WHAS radio. The second set of links are films of various races (all Triple Crown races except for Clem McCarthy’s call of the Seabiscuit-War Admiral match race in 1938).

For radio broadcasts of the Kentucky Derby–carried by WHAS in Louisville–by Bryan Field, Ted Huesing, Clem McCarthy, Fred Capossela, Cawood Ledford, and Paul Rogers–(click here). In a way, these radio broadcasts are more exciting than the television broadcasts because the announcers–especially Field, McCarthy, Capossela–are masters at describing the action and evoking the listener’s imagination.

For a sampling of films with narrative, click on the following links:

Clem McCarthy, 1938 Seabiscuit-War Admiral Match Race

Bryan Field, 1961 Kentucky Derby

Fred Capossela, 1970 Belmont Stakes

Chic Anderson, 1978 Belmont Stakes

Dave Johnson, 1989 Preakness Stakes

Tom Durkin, 2004 Kentucky Derby

Larry Collmus, 2011 Kentucky Derby

Best to everyone on Kentucky Derby Day 2011.!

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