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Registration opens for 'The Third Race Call' at Saratoga with Tom Durkin

By Nailah Ellis Timberlake | 03/14/2014 03:18 PM ET
Tom Durkin
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

Guests once again have a chance to be in the booth with one of racing's greatest announcers and support a great cause this summer when "The Third Race Call" with Tom Durkin returns at Saratoga Race Course.

Registration is now open for the popular "Third Race Call," when up to six fans get to join Durkin in his perch high above the finish line at Saratoga as he calls the third race at the historic track. Reservations are $100 per person, with 100% percent of the proceeds going to The Backstretch Employee Service Team (B.E.S.T), a non-profit organization that provides health and social services to the backstretch workers at Saratoga Race Course, Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack.

"It's an incredible experience for the avid racing fan," said Paul Ruchames, Executive Director of B.E.S.T. "Saratoga has become a venue to celebrate the most important events of people's lives and having the chance to watch a race from right above the finish line is special.

"We're extremely grateful to Tom for generously opening up his announcer's booth to racing fans," he added.

"The Third Race Call" with Tom Durkin has raised more than $20,000 every summer for the last three years.

"I've been on the B.E.S.T board for at least 18 years and I do what I can to help the operation, which I really believe in," said Durkin. "Seeing how we've been able to positively affect the lives of people living on the backstretch - the social services that we provide - is a model for the thoroughbred industry."

Durkin has been bringing his special brand of excitement to race fans at the New York Racing Association's three tracks since 1990. A native of Chicago, Durkin studied theatre at St. Norbert College and began calling races in the early 1970s. Affectionately known as "the voice of NYRA," Durkin called the Breeders' Cup from its inception in 1984 through 2005, and the Triple Crown which he called through 2010. 

While Durkin has called races at more than 50 tracks in six countries, he has a special fondness for Saratoga.

"I really enjoy being around horseracing fans - its edifying because I can tell that they love being up there and having a behind-the-scenes experience," said Durkin. "My job is pretty isolated by necessity and with 'The Third Race Call', I get to meet people and we have a good time."

This opportunity is limited to six fans daily from July 18 - September 1, excluding Travers Day. Reservations can be made by contacting the B.E.S.T. office at 516-488-3434 or online at http://bestbackstretch.com/2013-race-call-registration/