04/05/2013 2:55PM

Dennis Patterson, longtime Northern California trainer, dies at 77

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Dennis Patterson, who began training horses in the 1950s and has been a Northern California fixture since 1966, died at his home in San Mateo, Calif., at age 77 on Thursday night.

Patterson, who had battled back from repeated bouts of pneumonia, died of natural causes, said his son, Dennis Jr., a jockey agent.

“His body just gave out,” said Patterson of his father. “He was at home, and we were all there with him.”

Patterson’s first victory came at Agua Caliente on July 17, 1954, with The Most, a horse he purchased for $200. Patterson trained at Caliente for seven years and also raced horses in the Northwest. He came to Northern California in 1966, purchasing a home two miles from the now-defunct Bay Meadows Racetrack. He was based at Bay Meadows until the track closed down in 2008.

Patterson enjoyed his biggest success with multiple stakes winner Run It, who gave him his biggest victory in the Grade 3 Berkeley Stakes at Golden Gate Fields in 2010. Run It won the Alamedan Handicap at Pleasanton later that summer. He won the Alcatraz the year before at Golden Gate Fields.

Patterson also trained multiple stakes winner Carbonite, and stakes winners Storm Talker and Devilish Nature.

His barn, headed by his son Bill and daughter-in-law Christy Wiebe, has four wins at the current Golden Gate Fields meeting and had two horses scheduled to run Friday.

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

Services are pending.