Saturday, May 09, 2009


AFTER 19 YEARS, JAN RUSHTON LEAVES NYRA


ELMONT, N.Y.-- Jan Rushton, the New York Racing Association’s paddock analyst and popular television host, has resigned her position. Rushton has been away since the end of January to tend to her family in South Carolina. Earlier this year, her brother, Doug, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“I would like to thank all the fans, horsemen and fellow NYRA workers for all the support through my years in racing but I have to resign my position to be caretaker for my brother, who has a serious illness,” said Rushton, who began working for NYRA in May, 1995. “This has been a hard decision, but I feel that family must come first. I will miss all of you and thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.”


A native of Easley, South Carolina, Rushton was an accomplished rider of hunters and jumpers as a child, and majored in animal science at Clemson University. Upon graduation, she began working at the training center at Camden, S.C. and eventually came to New York in 1981. Rushton went to work for future Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, and was exercise rider for champions Heavenly Prize, Queena, Rhythm and, occasionally, Easy Goer and Inside Information. She also found her way at one time or another aboard Lure, My Flag, Preach and Versailles Treaty.

Rushton also worked as a chart taker for the Daily Racing Form’s New York track man Jack Kelly and later worked for NYRA’s Communications Department. A chance meeting with the producers of the now defunct Florida-based television magazine “Post Time” led to a job as researcher in 1991-’92. She was hired as a NYRA production assistant in 1995, and by the time she arrived on the scene, she was offered the job as commentator.

“It is sad that we have to lose Jan under these unfortunate circumstances,” said NYRA President and Chief Executive Officer Charles E. Hayward. “Her knowledge and experience were invaluable to us, and she helped make a lot of friends for NYRA. She will be missed by our fans and by her NYRA family, but we understand her responsibilities to her own family.”


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