The racing community is mourning the loss of legendary bookmaker Tom Patton.
Patton passed away on Thursday night from illness, aged 89.
Not only will Patton be remembered as a legendary bookmaker but also a champion person.
“You would never meet a nicer person than Tommy Patton and anyone at the racetrack would tell you that,” leading bookmaker Terry Coelli said.
“The whole time I was bookmaking, he was number one and someone I looked up to.
“He was the most respected bookmaker that I can remember. He never refused a bet and never whinged.”
Murrumbidgee Turf Club president Stuart Lamont said Patton was one of a kind.
“He was one of life’s gentlemen, really,” Lamont said.
“He had the respect of everyone on the racetrack.
“He lived for racing and made so many great friendships.
“He was a bookmaker who was a very good judge of form and how a horse would perform visually.”
Patton was a bookmaker for 56 years.
He worked his first meeting at the Coolamon trots in 1957 and retired as an 84-year-old in 2013.
“He loved the people, he loved the atmosphere and he loved the other bookmakers, he really enjoyed the bookies and got along with most people,” his son John said.
“In later years he wasn’t up to bookmaking any more, he said it was a young person’s game.
“He was very honoured when they introduced the Tom Patton Cup. He said if they ever call a race in your name you’re normally dead.
“He enjoyed going to the races. That was his life and he met a lot of people there.”
Patton was born next to the racecourse and grew up around horses.
At age 14, he would look after visiting bookmakers cars during race meetings and made enough to last him the next six weeks. It was then he realised what he wanted to do in the future.
Sad news with the passing of former bookmaker Tom Patton yesterday. To his wife Eunice son John and daughter Julie my sincere sympathy. A lovely man and stalwart of SDRA racing— Tim Donnelly (@timpdonnelly) August 31, 2018
Patton was a plasterer by trade before stepping into bookmaking and pursuing other interests.
He quickly established himself as the premier bookmaker in the region. He provided the prices for local meetings to The Daily Advertiser and 2KY for many years.
He was a life member at both Murrumbidgee Turf Club and Albury Racing Club.
Patton was also a finalist for the inaugural Southern District Racing Association (SDRA) Racing Personality of the Year in 2013.
MTC’s flag was flown at half mast on Friday in Patton’s memory. They hold the Tom Patton Cup each March.
He spent his latter years at Settlers Village in Wagga, where he made many friendships, and was still a regular at the track until only recently.
He is survived by his wife Eunice, son John and his wife Renee, daughter Susie, his two grandchildren Thomas and Mia, as well as his four sisters Margaret, Heather and the late Jessie and Nancy.
His funeral details will be finalised in coming days.