As much as I love watching new races, I love going back to old ones as well. Maybe it’s because there’s a horse I’m a fan of who was racing it, and I wanted to relive the glory. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to piece together an upcoming race. And, maybe, it’s just because I love listening to the race call. The 2009 Kentucky Derby falls into that category.
I know what you’re probably about to say — that the call was terrible, that Tom Durkin screwed up, that there’s a reason he doesn’t call the Kentucky Derby anymore. All of those are perfectly valid points. Purely considering the question of how to call a race, it’s a poor example.
Be that as it may, I love listening to this call.
I can only imagine that a race announcer gets involved in racing originally because they like the sport, and want to get more involved in it. And, that is what I love about this call: he saw something compelling in the front of the race, got carried away, and then reacted with pure, unbridled disbelief when he finally saw the long shot Mine That Bird pulling away near the rail. It’s proof that even someone who has been involved in racing for decades upon decades, who has watched thousands of races and called thousands of races, can still get distracted and carried away by the sport.
It’s compelling because it’s so human.