Terry Wallace, the voice of Arkansas horse racing since 1975, was honored March 19 with the Arkansas Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association’s Man of the Year Award for 2011.
Wallace, who earlier in the day called The Factor ’s victory in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park, was feted during an evening horsemen’s banquet held in conjunction with the National HBPA convention. The event also featured a tribute to 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, who won twice at Oaklawn in her career, via a video produced by Oaklawn Park.
Wallace called 20,191 consecutive races at Oaklawn, where he took over as announcer Feb. 7, 1985. This is the first year he missed a race call at the Hot Springs, Ark., racetrack.
Wallace is said to have the “most recognizable voice in Arkansas” and has been honored by various Arkansas governors, including eventual President Bill Clinton.
“You are something special like Zenyatta—a once in a lifetime,” Arkansas HBPA president Bill Walmsley said during the presentation. “We want you to know how much we revere what you’ve done for racing at Oaklawn Park and for the state of Arkansas.”
“You’re a special person,” former Arkansas HBPA president Earl Bellamy told Wallace, who is involved in various charitable causes in the Hot Springs area. “You’ve done a marvelous job all these years.”
Wallace for years headed the media relations department at Oaklawn and later became a member of the senior management team while calling races. Aside from his work at Oaklawn, Wallace is well-known as the voice of defunct Aksarben racetrack in Omaha, Nebraska.
Oaklawn had a big day March 19 with perfect weather for an 11-race card that featured the Rebel and included the $150,000 Azeri Stakes (gr. III) won by Havre de Grace. Attendance in ideal weather was reported at 34,698, with ontrack handle of $2.24 million. All-sources handle for the program topped $7 million.