Tom Durkin announces horse races. He's preparing to announce the upcoming Belmont Stakes, his last:
He has a dossier on each of the 12 possible starters that together runs more than 20 pages. By post time Saturday, Durkin, the track announcer, will have the pertinent details on each of them littered about his subconscious.
Just as he does before each of the races he calls, Durkin has also assigned this Belmont Stakes a plot — think of it as the frame within which he will paint an evocative word picture.
He's a performer, and performing is a tricky business. It can also provoke anxiety. So:
He had recorded one of his hypnosis sessions, and he plugged in his earbuds to listen to it on Monday, but the bulk of the day was devoted to the painstaking homework that has made Durkin’s vivid narration, in real time, a symphony of words, emotion and triumph.
Durkin’s anxiety may have begun with a flush of panic in 1987 as Ferdinand and Alysheba dueled to a photo finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but he has successfully held it at bay with meditation, prayer and medication to deliver some of the most memorable calls in modern thoroughbred history.