Dennis Patterson

Dennis Patterson

Vassar Photography

Bay Area Trainer Dennis Patterson Dies at 77

Well-respected horseman raced at Northern California tracks since 1966.

Veteran Northern California trainer Dennis Patterson, a well-respected horseman known for his old school approach to conditioning, died at his home in San Mateo on the night of April 4 with his family at his side.  He was 77.

Patterson, who battled back from bouts of pneumonia during the past several years, died of natural causes, reported his son, Dennis Patterson Jr., a successful jockey agent in the Bay Area.

"His body just gave out," he said. "He was at home and we were all there with him."

Patterson was born in Los Angeles and began his horse racing career in Southern California working for trainer Robert Wheeler.  He went out on his own in 1957 when he purchased a second-hand horse named The Most for $200. The Most provided him with his first training victory when he scored at Agua Caliente on July 14, 1957. 

The Most went on to post several wins for Patterson, who trained at Caliente for seven years and also started horses at racetracks in the Northwest. He settled in San Mateo in 1966, buying a home that was located two miles from Bay Meadows. He was based at the now-defunct track from the day he arrived in the Bay Area until the track’s final meeting in 2008. 

Patterson trained multiple stakes-winner Run It, who provided the trainer with his first graded stakes victory when he captured the Berkeley Stakes (gr. III) at Golden Gate Fields in 2010. Run It also won the 2010 Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton and the 2009 Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate.

He also trained stakes winners Carbonite (2011 Governor’s Cup Handicap at Fairplex Park and 2009 Pink Ribbon Invitational Stakes at Stockton), Storm Talker (1998 Pleasanton Handicap at Pleasanton) and Devilish Nature (1995 River Edge Farm Stakes at Bay Meadows).

His barn, headed by his son, Bill Patterson, and daughter-in-law Christy Wiebe (wife of Dennis Jr.), has four wins at the current Golden Gate meeting. They are scheduled to run two horses April 5 -- Secret Shadow in the third race and Big Jim in the seventh. 

Patterson is survived by his wife, Theresa; sons Bill, Dennis, and Jim; daughter, Peggy; and three grandchildren. Services are pending.