SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The caller to succeed Tom Durkin was announced by the New York Racing Association Wednesday.
Durkin has been a legend at the Saratoga Race Course for 43 years, and he will be retiring at the end of the 2014 season. NYRA CEO and President Chris Kay held a press conference on Wednesday morning to make the announcement.
Kay announced that the replacement will be Larry Collmus, the voice of the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup for NBC sports.
Collmus, who has also called races at Gulfstream Park in the winter, will assume his duties during the final month of the aqueduct racetrack spring meet in April 2015.
He says this is a very special day for him and it's something he's wished would happen since the beginning of his career.
“When you're a kid and you're growing up and you wanna be a race caller, you wanna be here and I’m here. So it's pretty good darn stuff and I’m really looking forward to working with everybody here at the New York Racing Association,” said Collmus.
Collmus comes to NYRA after spending one season calling races at Churchill Downs. The new announcer first saluted Durkin for helping to raise his own standard when it comes to calling races.
"I want to thank him as a fan because I thought his calls just brought the excitement of this game to a new level. And I want to thank him as a race caller because I think we all got better because of how great his calls were,” said Collmus.
While Collmus says he and Durkin have similar styles, he wants fans to appreciate his originality he brings to the table.
"I think it's important to be yourself and I think the racing in New York will definitely have a new sound but hopefully one that everyone is going to like,” he said.
Durkin's will announce his last race at the Saratoga Race Track on August 31, then John Imbriale will call the fall Belmont Meet and serve as the main race caller at aqueduct.