Durkin’s ‘Dream’: From Fear To ‘Elation’ In The Space Of Two Minutes

by | 05.16.2017 | 5:34pm
Tom Durkin gives a thumbs up during his retirement speech at Saratoga in 2014

Track announcer Tom Durkin was full of excitement leading up to the Kentucky Derby in 2017, but not because he was going to call the race, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Commentary. This year, the retiree's anticipation stemmed from his ownership of a small piece of the colt named Always Dreaming, who would go off as the favorite and come back under the Twin Spires as the 2 3/4-length winner.

In the middle of the race, however, Durkin's experience came far closer to fear than he had anticipated. Standing in the tunnel between the paddock and the track, Durkin was pinned up against a wall by the rambunctious Thunder Snow, who was being escorted into the paddock after he unleashed a barrage of airs above the ground at the start of the race. Durkin, afraid of horses, had to shove the colt's hips away from his own body to avoid being kicked but was able to avoid injury.

“You could imagine the headline, 'Derby owner dies before the race is over,'” Durkin said. “But when Always Dreaming crossed the wire there was just elation. Looking at pictures people have been sending me, I was a very happy guy. I found myself laughing at the absurdity of it. It was surreal. My basic reaction was laughing uncontrollably.”

Read more at thoroughbredracing.com.

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