Veteran Oaklawn Park Starter Terry Walker Dies At Age 61

Terry Walker, a life-long racetracker and the starter at Oaklawn Park for the past 16 years, died Sunday according to various reports. He was 61.

The starting gate crew and others at Oaklawn observed a moment of silence during Sunday’s race card, which was run without spectators. Jockeys, outriders and track officials gathered in the winner’s circle after the eighth race. Walker worked as the starter for Saturday’s card, which included the Rebel Stakes, a prep for the Kentucky Derby.

“He has lived his entire life on the race track,” according to an obituary in the Hot Springs Sentinel Record.

A native of central Illinois, Walker grew up in a racing family and began as a rider and hot walker. In 1977, he got a job as an assistant starter and later became the head starter at Oaklawn in 2004.

“The most important part of the job is the safety of the riders,” Walker told the Sentinel Record in 2018. “That’s the number one and that’s my guys’ number one thing, too. I have to turn it over to them during the races. But even in the morning, the riders are the number one priority, whether they’re exercise riders or jockeys or whatever. Then the horse is next. And then my people are last, but that’s just procedure — that’s just the way it is, as the shed row turns. That should be a novel ‘as the shed row turns.’”

Walker is survived by his son Jacob, ex-wife Mindy and brother Tim among others.

The starting gate crew at Oaklawn Park observes a moment of silence for Terry Walker

The post Veteran Oaklawn Park Starter Terry Walker Dies At Age 61 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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