Terry Dehere and the Fountain of Youth

Profile Picture: Rowan Ward

February 24th, 2021

With March Madness less than a month out and the Fountain of Youth set for Feb. 27, there is no better time to look at where they intersect — with Terry Dehere and his namesake Thoroughbred, Dehere, who won the 1994 Fountain of Youth (G2).

Terry Dehere is one of the best to wear a Seton Hall uniform. He joined their basketball team in 1989 and immediately made an impact. Though the team made the National Championship Game the year before, its stars graduated, and the program had to rebuild. Terry Dehere was crucial at guard. He averaged a team-high 16.1 points per game as a freshman.

Though Seton Hall missed the NCAA Tournament in 1990, Terry Dehere carried the Pirates to the Big Dance in each of his last three years. He also led the team in points per game every year he played and ended his college career as Seton Hall’s all-time scoring leader. His best season came as a senior, when he averaged 22 points per game and led his team to both the Big East regular-season championship and the conference tournament crown in 1993.

Just as Terry Dehere finished his basketball career at Seton Hall and prepared to turn pro, his equine namesake was working toward his own career. Going into his debut at Monmouth Park on June 30, 1993, the public expected Dehere to make an impact as quickly as his basketball counterpart. Bet down to 9-10 in a field of 12 for his debut, the well-bred son of Deputy Minister rallied wide and cleared to win by four lengths.

Monmouth was only a preview for Dehere’s smashing summer at Saratoga. In the Saratoga Special (G3), he got caught in traffic, found room, and got up by a neck over Slew Gin Fizz. In the Sanford (G3), he bided his time behind a four-way pace battle, took command in the stretch, and drew off to win by five lengths. He completed the Saratoga trifecta in the Hopeful (G1), where he disputed the pace and drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths, over Slew Gin Fizz. Those three wins put him in company with Regret (1914), Campfire (1916), and City Zip (2000) as only horses to sweep Saratoga’s juvenile series.

Dehere also won the Champagne Stakes (G1) later in 1993, when he stalked the pace and romped by four lengths. On the strength of those four stakes wins, and a second-place finish — half a length behind the great Holy Bull in the Futurity (G1) — Dehere earned the Eclipse Award for champion two-year-old male.

Dehere’s three-year-old year started with a setback. He returned in an allowance as a 1-10 favorite but could not outlast a classy foe with a recency edge, Ride the Rails. Dehere got what he needed out of the race, however. Two weeks later, in the Fountain of Youth, he not only faced Ride the Rails again, but two Grade 1-quality foes. Sent off as the third choice, with entrymate Warm Wayne, behind Holy Bull and Go For Gin, Dehere looked like his champion self once more. He raced off a hot pace, rolled outside around the far turn, and outfinished Go For Gin to win by three-quarters of a length.

Unfortunately, Dehere didn't spend as much time in the big leagues as the basketball star he was named for. Though Terry Dehere was never the dominant scorer in the NBA that he was at Seton Hall, he spent six years in the NBA and played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and Vancouver Grizzlies.

The equine Dehere was off the Derby trail almost as soon as he was on it. He fractured his right rear cannon bone less than two weeks after his Fountain of Youth triumph and never raced again. Even so, his legacy left no doubt that he had earned his name — a championship at two, a graded stakes win at three, and a stallion career with progeny including blue hen Take Charge Lady.

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