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Update: John Brennan Passes

Published: March 10, 2020 5:31 pm ET

Last Comment: March 15, 2020 3:14 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Longtime harness racing industry participant John Brennan passed away on Tuesday, March 10 at the age of 69.

According to, Brennan was admitted to a New Jersey hospital last Friday (March 6) and was tested for coronavirus. SOA of NY President Joe Faraldo told Harness Racing Update that Brennan passed  "due to coronavirus, which [sic] exasperated existing health problems." 

A story posted on Tuesday confirmed that a 69-year-old man who travelled back and forth to New York a lot had become the first person in the state to succumb to the virus.

A native of Rockaway Beach, N.Y., Mr. Brennan finished school in 1968 and worked as a steamfitter for four years before he began his career in harness racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

He trained horses for more than 40 years, racing stables in New York and New Jersey. 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.

A director of the USTA for 23 years and chairman of District 12, Brennan was on the board of the SOA of New York for more than 30 years and an HHI delegate for more than 20 years.

At the time of his death, he was the horsemen’s representative at Yonkers Raceway.

A full obituary will be posted when available.


Brennan’s family has since sent out a statement on John’s passing. He contents of the statement appear below.

On March 10, 2020, a shining light went dim. John Brennan, beloved brother, uncle and great-uncle, passed away as a direct result of COVID-19. John was loved and adored by people all throughout the country. Due to the severity of the virus, and in an abundance of caution, funeral arrangements have not been made at this time. Per recommendations, a mass will be held in the definite future, once the spread of the virus calms. We will allow people enough time to plan accordingly. Thank you for your love, support and compassion during this most difficult time.

The adoring family of John Brennan.

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of John Brennan.

(with files from USTA and

March 15, 2020 - 3:14 pmJohn was a good guy with a

John was a good guy with a tough job. Sad to hear of his passing.

March 11, 2020 - 6:53 pmMy condolences to the Brennan

My condolences to the Brennan family. RIP John.

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