Tom Durkin has been selected by the Board of Directors of the Thoroughbred Club of America as the 2015 Honored Guest, Club President Shannon Arvin announced today. Durkin will be honored by the Club at its 84th Testimonial Dinner at Keeneland Race Course on Tuesday evening, September 29th.
"Every racing fan knows Tom's iconic voice and historic calls," said Arvin. "His contagious excitement for the game and his character have greatly enhanced the racing experience for forty-three years, and we look forward to honoring his career and contributions."
A native of Chicago, Durkin studied drama at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. In 1971, he was hired as a race caller at Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred races at county fairs in Wisconsin, which he did each summer through 1975. The following year he was employed by the Daily Racing Form as a call taker responsible for documenting the comments and statistics used in the official charts of the races at Cahokia Downs and Thistledown Racecourse. Later, Durkin went on to work as a race caller at Florida Downs, Miles Park, Quad City, Balmoral Park, Hialeah Park, Meadowlands, and Gulfstream Park. In 1990 Durkin was hired to call races at the New York Racing Association's Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course. Durkin has called races at more than 50 tracks in six countries.
Tom Durkin is one of horse racing's most identifiable voices. He served as the chief TV voice for the Breeders' Cup, from its inception through 2005. He was a longtime broadcaster on NBC as part of the network's sportscasting crew for horse races, providing analysis, commentary and features in addition to the descriptions of races. His work at NBC included coverage of the Triple Crown for a number of years.
Durkin retired in 2014 and, in recognition of his career-long dedication, he was awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit in January 2015. At the Eclipse Awards, he recalled the names of horses that made up his most memorable calls, names such as Tiznow, Cigar, Personal Ensign, Winning Colors, Lady's Secret, Rachel Alexandra, Curlin, Rags To Riches, Fourstardave, Wise Dan, Easy Goer, Sunday Silence, Real Quiet, Victory Gallop and Alysheba. (Click horse names to relive Tom Durkin's famous calls).
Despite his retirement from race calling, Durkin has continued to serve the industry, as master of ceremonies of various events, including the Hall of Fame inductions, the OwnerView Thoroughbred Owners' Conference, and the Pan American Racing Conference.
For over 84 years, The Thoroughbred Club of America Annual Testimonial Dinner has honored persons who have rendered distinguished service to the sport of Thoroughbred racing.
Three veterinarians, Dr. Larry R. Bramlage, Dr. Edward H. Fallon and Dr. A. Gary Lavin have been selected by the Board of Directors of the Thoroughbred Club of America as Honored Guests, Club President Happy Broadbent announced today. All three will be honored by the Club at its 83rd Testimonial Dinner at Keeneland Race Course on Sunday evening, September 28th.
"These distinguished honorees are legends in equine veterinary medicine," said Broadbent. "Through their respective accomplishments as a surgeon, reproductive specialist, and racetrack veterinarian, these three pioneers have all improved the welfare of the Thoroughbred. Particularly in a year when the world has focused on how Thoroughbreds are treated, we look forward to honoring these three remarkable men and telling the story of the best in veterinary care."
Dr. Larry Bramlage has distinguished himself as a teacher, researcher, and leader within his profession but is best known as an orthopedic surgeon. He is the most highly sought veterinarian for countless owners and trainers whenever orthopedic problems need diagnosis or surgery.
Among his best known cases was repairing Personal Ensign's fracture which had appeared to be career-ending. After surgery, Personal Ensign returned to continue her unbeaten career, culminating in a dramatic victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
A native of Kansas, Dr. Bramlage graduated from Kansas State University and taught at The Ohio State University before moving to Lexington in 1989 to join Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, where he became a partner in 1992.
Dr. Fallon represents the fourth generation of a family of veterinarians whose connection to Kentucky dates from 1875, when a Scottish-educated veterinarian named Edward Thomas Hagyard was called to Kentucky to consult on a valuable Shorthorn bull. An equine practice grew from that visit.
Third-generation Charles Edward Hagyard was joined in the practice in 1940 by Arthur Davidson and William McGee, which completed the team that for decades was known as Hagyard-Davidson-McGee (now Hagyard Equine Medical Institute).
Dr. Ed Fallon is the son of Dr. Charles Hagyard's sister. He graduated from Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1956, and his son Luke Hagyard Fallon, a fifth generation equine veterinarian, graduated from Cornell in 1996.
In taking his turn of stewardship of the revered old firm, Dr. Ed Fallon was instrumental in bringing about an era of increased efficiency in broodmare management. He utilized and promoted such scientific developments as ovarian palpation to determine pregnancy in mares and use of artificial lighting to stimulate estrous cycles.
Dr. Lavin is the son of well-known racing secretary Allan Lavin and grew up in the sport. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's veterinary college in 1962 and for many years was a practitioner and surgeon on the race track. The many honors he received reflect the quality of care he gave to clients and their horses. They include his alma mater's Bellwether Medal for Distinguished Leadership, status as a Distinguished Life Member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and designation as a Distinguished Practitioner of the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners.
Further indication of the respect he has earned within his profession was the AAEP's establishment of the Lavin Cup for Equine Welfare in 1996.
Dr. Lavin has given his time and leadership to many roles, having been president of the AAEP and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, as well as steward of The Jockey Club, trustee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, The Breeders' Cup, and presently as director of Keeneland and as vice chairman of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation.
Lavin and his family operate Longfield Farm in Goshen, Ky. Lavin's wife, Betsy, serves on the Kentucky Racing Commission, and their sons are involved in bloodstock agency and equine insurance.
Hall of Fame trainer Claude R. “ Shug” McGaughey III has been selected as the Thoroughbred Club of America Honored Guest. He will be honored by the Club at its 82nd Testimonial Dinner at Keeneland Race Course on Sunday evening, September 29th.
“The Testimonial Dinner was established in 1932 and the distinguished individuals honored by the Thoroughbred Club of America include a number of training legends such as Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons, Horatio Luro, Woody Stephens, Charlie Whittingham, Mack Miller and D. Wayne Lukas. Shug McGaughey is one of the greatest trainers of our time, and he deserves to join the distinguished group of horsemen selected for this honor,” Broadbent said.
Born in Lexington, Kentucky, McGaughey started training at Keeneland in 1979. After working for some notable stables, McGaughey was named trainer for the Phipps Stable in New York in 1985. Just three years later, he won the Eclipse Award as Outstanding Trainer of 1988, and in 2004 was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.
McGaughey has conditioned four Hall of Fame horses -- Personal Ensign, Easy Goer, Inside Information and the newly-inducted Lure. His other champions include Heavenly Prize, Queena, Rhythm, Smuggler, Storm Flag Flying and Vanlandingham.
In total, McGaughey has won nine Breeders’ Cup races, tied for second on the all-time list behind D. Wayne Lukas. Highlighting his Breeders’ Cup resume is one of the most thrilling finishes in history: Personal Ensign’s dramatic rally to nip Lukas’ filly Winning Colors by a nose in the 1988 Distaff at Churchill Downs, to retire undefeated in 13 starts. In 2013, McGaughey earned his first Kentucky Derby win with Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s homebred Orb. McGaughey had previously finished second in the 1989 Kentucky Derby with Easy Goer, who went on to give him his first Triple Crown race victory in that year’s Belmont Stakes.To date, McGaughey ranks as the 10th all-time leading trainer with nearly $120 million in earnings, and after more than 8,000 starts, he is approaching the 1,800-win milestone.
On September 30, 2012, The Thoroughbred Club recognized Ms. Penny Chenery as the recepient of the 2012 Honor Guest.
The Thoroughbred Club of America
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