By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport


SCENE & HEARD: Even horses need a day off and typically Monday is a dark day at Hastings Racecourse. Save for the occasional walkabout through the barns, all is quiet. It is a day of rest.

But things will certainly pick up later in the day tomorrow (Monday, June 3) when horsemen and horsewomen from all levels of the racing industry say a final goodbye to Dennis Terry in a Celebration of Life at the Terry farm in Langley. Dennis passed peacefully at home on May 8, succumbing to cancer in his 79th year.

As racetrack characters go, Dennis Terry would have been a prime candidate for a chapter in one of the best-selling novels penned by the late and great authority on the subject, the immortal Jim Coleman.

Dennis rode, trained and owned in Vancouver back in the day when the Hastings facility was known as Exhibition Park. Terry and former BC Lions quarterback Pete Ohler co-owned several horses at one point. The highlight of Terry’s training career unfolded during the 1989 season when his pride and joy Haveigotadealforu won the Canadian Derby at Northlands and the BC Premiers at Hastings.

Always entertaining, be it at a racetrack or on a golf course, Dennis loved to share the story about the day his son Rick, a trainer at the time at Emerald Downs, called and said: “Dad, there is a friend of mine, Dave Doutrich, who trains a horse called Go Down Moses that just doesn’t fit this race track. I suggested he send him to you to train.”

Dennis replied: “Son, the last thing I need is another horse to feed.”

To shorten the yarn as reported by Tom Wolski in The Province back in 2001, Rick talked his father into taking Go Down Moses. The horse’s racing papers were signed over to Dennis as owner in exchange for a round of golf in Vancouver.

After some patented training patience on Terry’s part, Go Down Moses won a couple of races and it was the first time anyone could remember a horse being acquired for the price of a free golf game.