Is Silence Golden?

by Ed Meyer

posted on April 27, 2011 in General Discussion, Horse Racing | No Comments >>

Radio MicrophoneWe all have heard this so many times. It applies to your neighbor listening to his 80’s cassettes, or that crazy person who sits in the next cubicle and speaks so loud into the phone that it can be heard in the parking lot. But, when you hear that Tom Durkin’s golden tones will not be heard calling the biggest races, the silence is deafening.

I grew up hearing his deep, accurate voice paint a picture like an artist. The way he picked up runners coming along the inside, and flying down the center of the track, still gives me chills.  This is a gift. Liken it to a conductor of a symphony, or a baritone at the opera, Durkin’s voice was as big a part of the day as the race. Well, maybe not that last part, because he would disagree. Nobody is bigger than the sport itself, but he was entrusted with the job to make it all come to a colorful life.

When I read David Grening from the DRF detail how he battled anxiety, and felt the immense pressure, I hurt for the man. How he stood in the batters box on the biggest days, and never disappointed. But, he feels disappointed, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We, as fans, are grateful for the calls that drew us closer. He brought it to life, and made the biggest stage a grand performance.

Oh, I am sure there are many capable and solid race callers. They will take over the mic, and do a fine job. But, it will still leave us waiting to hear his golden tones. There was action in his calls. There was excitement that can only be appreciated when we reach for the volume button, and miss the fruits of his labor.

I am glad that he will still be on the NYRA circuit until 2015.  He will raise chills down your arm, and bring a smile to your face. The signature voice of horse racing is not gone, but has given notice just as all of the greats in racing. Mr. Durkin, it sure has been a pleasure listening to your calls. You brought to life the mingling dance of luck and chance.