Terry Wallace, the longtime Oaklawn Park announcer who called thousands of races at the Hot Springs track, has died after health complications, officials said. He was 74.
Oaklawn spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyt confirmed Thursday that Wallace died from complications with supranuclear palsy, a brain disorder.
Wallace, who was known as “The Voice of Oaklawn” for decades, began calling races at the Hot Springs track in 1975 and called a record 20,191 consecutive races before ending his streak Jan. 28, 2011.
“Terry was one of the legends of Oaklawn,” Senior Vice President Eric Jackson said in a news release. “For generations of Arkansas racing fans, he was the voice of Oaklawn and for a time he was the most recognized voice in the state. It’s a very sad day for the Oaklawn family as we have lost an important part of our history.”
Oaklawn President Lou Cella said he grew up listening to Terry Wallace’s calls of the Oaklawn races.
“He had so many classic calls,” Cella said. “And he had a way of making even a mundane race seem incredibly exciting.”
Lou Cella said in a release that it was exactly one year ago that Oaklawn lost his father and longtime Oaklawn president, Charles Cella.
Wallace, a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, stepped down as announcer following the 2011 season, but remained a popular ambassador for the track until his retirement in 2017.
Wallace was also active in the fight against cancer. He worked with the United Way and the organization recognized him last year with a special tribute for his years of service to the community.
In the coming years, the United Way will bestow the Terry Wallace Volunteer Award, according to an Oaklawn news release.
Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.