TV Talk

April 28, 2002

Horsing around with track announcer Tom Durkin

On May 4, Tom Durkin, 51, will call the Kentucky Derby on NBC.

SI: If you drank a couple of mint juleps before the Derby, would
viewers know?

Durkin: By past performances I would say yes.

SI: Will you bet on the Derby?

Durkin: Absolutely, but not with both fists. I still have to
hold my binoculars.

SI: Have you ever used binoculars to watch people in the crowd?

Durkin: There are 24 minutes between races. What do you think I
do all day?

SI: Is Charlsie Cantey your colleague's real name?

Durkin: Charlsie is real. It's the Cantey part I'm not sure
about.

SI: Who's the more annoying horse owner: George Steinbrenner or
Rick Pitino?

Durkin: George Steinbrenner. He fired me once. [The Boss canned
Durkin two decades ago while Durkin was calling races at Tampa
Bay Downs, which was owned by Steinbrenner.]

SI: Who's the better Triple Crown winner: Seattle Slew or Frank
Robinson?

Durkin: Slew. He only had one chance. Frank Robinson had his
entire career to do it.

SI: Have you used the phrase "And down the stretch they come" in
your personal life?

Durkin: No.

SI: You once worked as a golf club salesman. Would Big Bertha be
a good name for a horse?

Durkin: It would be better than Pink Putter.

SI: You have homes on Long Island, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.,
and in Florence? You must have some bon vivant lifestyle.

Durkin: It makes up for living in a trailer for four years.

SI: Do you think jockeys wear Jockey underwear?

Durkin: In the same way that boxers wear boxer shorts.

SI: Were you tricked into seeing All the Pretty Horses by the
title?

Durkin: I never saw the movie. It sounded like a chick flick.

SI: Have you ever called a race between a man and a horse?

Durkin: No, but one time at a county fair in Wisconsin I called a
race between a horse and a car.

SI: Could you handle the call of a three-horse race among She
Sells Seashells, Flat Fleet Feet and Shiningcityshoes?

Durkin: Yes, if I had six mint juleps. --R.D.

COLOR PHOTO: STEVEN D. FREEMAN/NBC Tom Durkin

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)