09/02/2006 12:00AM

Durkin won't be calling Cup


Tom Durkin, who has called every Breeders' Cup race since the series began in 1984, will no longer call the Breeders' Cup races because of a contractual commitment to NBC Sports. NBC had broadcast the Breeders' Cup for its first 22 years, but this year the races have moved to ESPN.

Officials from ESPN and the Breeders' Cup would not discuss who would replace Durkin, though an announcement is expected this week. One possible replacement could be Trevor Denman, who calls races at Santa Anita and Del Mar, and who has worked as an analyst on previous Breeders' Cup telecasts. Denman does not have an exclusive contract with NBC.

"ESPN is very interested in developing its own voice for the event," said a Breeders' Cup official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

At the beginning of 2006, Durkin signed an exclusive contract with NBC, which televises the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Durkin called the Belmont Stakes, broadcast on ABC, but was simply referred to as the track announcer and was not seen on camera. Durkin also called the Forego and Woodward, broadcast on ESPN, but was also not on camera.

Durkin announced the change in a statement released to reporters in the Saratoga press box on Saturday.