After leaving on his own accord, the legendary Tom Durkin will be making his grand return to the broadcast booth.
Fox Sports announced on Friday that the horse racing legend will return to the booth on June 10 for the 155th running of the Belmont Stakes.
“The Belmont Stakes has been an iconic part of sports culture for more than 150 years,” said Durkin in a statement, via Fox Sports. “There is nothing like the energy and enthusiasm around Belmont Park with a Triple Crown on the line. It is the apotheosis of excitement.”
The 72-year-old Durkin had called nearly 80,000 races during a 43-year career before his retirement in 2014. Looking to alleviate the stress associated with broadcasting the races, Durkin decided not to seek a renewal of his contract with NBC Sports back in 2011 and ultimately elected to no longer be the voice of the Triple Crown. However, he stayed on with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) until his full retirement in ’14.
“We are honored to have the legendary Tom Durkin return for the Belmont Stakes this year,” said FOX Sports President of Production/Operations and Executive Producer Brad Zager. “When it became official that an iconic piece of the historic Triple Crown would air on FOX, we knew it could only be complete with Tom’s voice as the soundtrack.”
Fox Sports announced that in addition to calling the Belmont Stakes, Durkin will announce all races during the network’s coverage of the Belmont Stakes. This will be the first time that Fox Sports will present the Belmont Stakes as part of an agreement that will establish the network as the home of the race through 2030. It remains to be seen if Durkin will stay on beyond 2023.
[Fox Sports; photo from Jessica Alcheh/USA TODAY Sports]