08/22/2014 3:06PM

NYRA honors Jerkens, Lukas, Durkin

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
From left, Tom Durkin, D. Wayne Lukas, and Jimmy Jerkens (on behalf of his father, Allen) are presented with plaques by the New York Racing Association.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Hall of Fame trainers Allen Jerkens and D. Wayne Lukas and veteran race caller Tom Durkin were honored for their career achievements by the New York Racing Association on Friday in a ceremony held in the winner’s circle prior to the start of the races.

NYRA president and chief executive Chris Kay presented Lukas and Durkin with red jackets – Jimmy Jerkens accepted on behalf of his father, who is now based in Florida – and unveiled plaques highlighting the careers of all three men. The plaques will be displayed outside the jockey porch.

Durkin, who will retire Aug. 31 after 43 years as a race caller – the last 24 for NYRA – said it was “difficult to absorb” being honored in the same manner as Jerkens and Lukas, who he said “are at the very top of my list as being the most admired in the game.”

Lukas, a six-time Saratoga leading trainer and a winner of 19 Breeders’ Cup races and 14 Triple Crown races, said he is most proud of how many trainers came out of his program. Among them are Todd Pletcher, who presented Lukas with his jacket and plaque, Kiaran McLaughlin, Dallas Stewart, Mike Maker, George Weaver, and Mark Hennig.

Allen Jerkens, who won trainers’ titles on the NYRA circuit in five different decades, was shown in a video acknowledging how appreciative he was of being honored along with Lukas and Durkin.

This was the second year that NYRA held such a ceremony. Last year, NYRA honored jockeys Angel Cordero, Jerry Bailey, and John Velazquez.