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Brennan Back Jogging Horses

Published: August 20, 2008 7:45 pm ET

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On Monday, driver George Brennan took a significant step toward returning to racing when he jogged a horse for the first time since breaking his wrist in an accident May 31 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Brennan, who suffered a compound fracture of the right wrist, hopes to return to competitive driving within six to eight weeks.

"I just went with one and jogged him five or six times around," Brennan said. "I don't want to put too much added pressure on the hand, but at the same time, I don't want to baby it. I've got to toughen it up. It felt pretty good. I was rather surprised with my grip; my grip was pretty strong. It wasn't nearly enough to race a horse, but it was better than I expected. It felt good."

Brennan, 41, was enjoying a strong start to the 2008 campaign at the time of the accident. He was second in wins and purses at the Meadowlands and captured more than a handful of the winter stakes titles. Such was his cushion in victories that he still managed to end the Championship Meet in second place despite missing the final two months.

Nationally, Brennan ranked sixth in purses with $3.2 million. He still ranks No. 20 in earnings in North America.

"The whole situation stinks, but it could have been a lot worse," Brennan said. "I'm hoping everything continues to go well with the therapy. It seems like a long time, but it was an awful break. When I had my second surgery, the specialist said it wasn't the worst he'd ever seen, but it was in the top five. Both of my bones, the radius and the ulna, were detached from my hand. The rehab is going to tell everything.

"If I can be back in eight weeks, the middle of October, it would be terrific. I'd like to race at Freehold and Chester a little bit before the Meadowlands opens again in November."

After averaging nearly 2,200 races per year over the past five seasons, it took Brennan time to get adjusted to life on the sidelines.

"I've been on the go my whole life," Brennan said. "I've been competitive my whole life. And then in one day I've got to shut it all down. That's the tough part. My mental state has changed. There's nothing to be competitive about."

Brennan also has had to forego another of his passions – playing golf – this summer.

"If I'm going to be out, I wish I could do something I really enjoy, but I can't do anything," Brennan said with a laugh.

When not filling time with exercise and rehab, Brennan has attended a number of concerts and spent extra time with his family. A country music fan, Brennan has seen Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, and Brad Paisley. And, of course, as a New Jersey resident, Bruce Springsteen.

"Normally, I never have a chance to go to those concerts, so I'm taking advantage," Brennan said. "I've gone up to Monticello (New York) a few times to see my family. I got to go to some graduation parties, Fourth of July parties, birthday parties – things that I've never been able to do. My pool is finally getting a lot of use this summer. The weather has been great for it, so I've been taking advantage of that.

"With all the hand exercises I have to do, it takes up a lot of time. I'm just trying to make the best of a bad situation. My mind is at ease and everything is going OK."


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