UPDATE: New Jersey’s first coronavirus fatality was a 69-year-old Little Ferry man who worked at Yonkers Raceway, which canceled racing Tuesday night from concerns that others may have contracted the virus, officials said.
John Brennon was a horseman’s field representative for the Standardbred Owners Association (SOA) of New York, its president, Joseph Faraldo, said Tuesday.
Faraldo said COVID-19 exacerbated existing health conditions, which authorities in New Jersey said included diabetes.
Faraldo, in a Facebook post, said he remained confined himself over his doctor’s concerns that he might have contracted the virus from Brennan, his “right-hand man.”
A native of Rockaway Beach in Queens, Brennan was a USTA director for 23 years and chairman of District 12, Faraldo said.
He worked as a steamfitter before beginning his career in harness racing in Saratoga Springs, then trained horses for more than 40 years at racing stables in New York and New Jersey, USTrottingNews.com reported.
He won the 1995 Merrie Annabelle with Missy Will Do It and was part-owner and trainer of Sugar Trader, winner of the 2003 Yonkers Trot and runner-up in the 2003 Hambletonian.
Faraldo said Brennan was in the paddock at Yonkers every night – and, as a result, had exposure to several people there, raising the concerns about a possible spread of the virus at the track.
“I have asked MGM (owners of Yonkers) to ensure that before we return to racing that they take extreme measures to sanitize everything thoroughly,” Faraldo said in the HRU post.
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