Triple Crown Caller To Replace Retiring Durkin
Launching a new era for horseplayers and racing fans around the world, New York Racing Association (NYRA) CEO and President Chris Kay announced the appointment of Larry Collmus as the organization’s next race caller, succeeding the retiring Tom Durkin.
Collmus currently serves as the winter track announcer for Gulfstream Park in Florida and the same post for Churchill Downs. He is also NBC Sports’ caller for its coverage of the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races.
Durkin, who has called the NYRA circuit since 1990, announced earlier this year he will call his last race at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday, Aug. 31, bringing a 43-year career to a close.
“The New York Racing Association was privileged to have one of the greatest voices in professional sports calling our races for more than two decades. With our addition of Larry Collmus, we have another,” said Kay. “Larry’s highly acclaimed work for NBC Sports, including with the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup has inspired excitement and generated lasting memories for horseplayers and racing fans everywhere. We are fortunate that Larry has chosen to bring his talents and passion back to New York, and I would like to extend a warm welcome on behalf of the men and women of this great organization.”
Starting in April 2015, Collmus will assume his duties during the final month of the Aqueduct Racetrack spring meet. Though Collmus is leaving Churchill Downs to take the NYRA job, he will continue to call the winter races at Gulfstream and races for NBC Sports.
After Aqueduct, Collmus will continue during the Belmont Park spring and fall meets, and the summer meet at Saratoga.
John Imbriale, director of TV production for the NYRA, will call the 2014 Belmont fall meet and will continue to serve as the main race caller at Aqueduct Racetrack, with the exception of the month of April. Imbriale has been calling races at Aqueduct for more than 15 years.
“I am so excited and honored to become the next voice of New York racing,” said Collmus. “The racing in New York is second to none-Belmont Park has such a rich history of championship racing and Saratoga has the best racing in the world and an atmosphere unlike any another place. I have some enormous shoes to fill as Tom Durkin raised the bar of our profession very high over the course of his brilliant career with the New York Racing Association.”
“I would like to congratulate Larry and wish him the very best,” said Durkin. “It has been a tremendous privilege to serve the loyal racing fans of New York for all of these years. I am confident that Larry will find New York racing as exciting and rewarding as I did.”
Collmus called his first race in 1985 at the age of 18 at the defunct Bowie Race Course. His career included stints at Birmingham Turf Club, Golden Gate Fields, Suffolk Downs and Monmouth Park. He served as the winter race caller at Aqueduct in 2005-06.
NBC Sports hired Collmus in 2011 to call the Triple Crown races for its broadcasts after Durkin stepped down from that role. One year later, he was named the caller for NBC Sports’ Breeders Cup coverage; Durkin called the Breeders’ Cup from its inception in 1984 through 2005.