(from NYRA release)
Jan Rushton, the New York Racing Association’s paddock analyst and popular television host, has resigned her position in order to tend to her family in South Carolina.
Rushton has been away since the end of January. 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, S.C., 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 worked for future Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, and was exercise rider for several champions. She also was a chart taker for the Daily Racing Form 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 was soon offered the job as commentator.
“It is sad that we have to lose Jan under these unfortunate circumstances,” said Charles E. Hayward, NYRA president and chief executive officer. “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.”