Trainer Tom Amoss tweeted March 19 that he would self-quarantine for 14 days after learning that New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton—who was in the winner's circle with him at Oaklawn Park March 14—tested positive for COVID-19. The trainer added in his tweet that he "will be tested at the earliest possible time" but feels great and has no symptoms.
Amoss, whose primary winter training base is Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans, was at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., to watch Joel Politi's Serengeti Empress win the March 14 Azeri Stakes (G2) by 6 1/4 lengths under Joe Talamo. Fair Grounds and Oaklawn raced last week, mostly without spectators.
Having just found out that @SeanPayton tested positive for the Coronavirus & being with him Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn, I am self quarantining immediately and will get tested at the earliest possible time. I feel great and have had no symptoms. Wishing Coach a fast recovery.— TomAmossRacing (@TomAmossRacing) March 19, 2020
Payton was photographed with the winning connections while holding the Azeri trophy.
Reached Thursday, Amoss declined to comment beyond his tweet, saying he is still collecting his thoughts.
The Rebel Stakes (G2) followed the Azeri. Three Technique, a horse with NFL ties, finished fourth in the Rebel for trainer Jeremiah Englehart and jockey Luis Saez. Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm owns the son of Mr Speaker .
Parcells, like Payton, is a Super Bowl-winning coach, and Payton was once an assistant to Parcells.
Ironically, Payton discussed the implications of COVID-19 when interviewed by TVG's Britney Eurton last weekend.
"I think the thing that is lost in it all is that, for us that are maybe younger, it's one thing—we could become obviously infected and carriers, but the way you must feel if you're an older person, that's something you would never want," Payton said in the interview. "Neither of my parents are alive, but to have that fear of being in that age group affected the most is certainly frightening."
On Thursday, Kevin Grigsby, the senior vice president of programming and executive producer at TVG, issued a statement on Twitter regarding Payton contracting COVID-19 and his interaction with TVG staff.
"Any known employee who has come in contact with Payton has been contacted and will be self-quarantining for the recommended time provided by the CDC," he tweeted. "We have no reports of any illness at this time."
Earlier this week, TVG and NBCSN announced Eurton would host television coverage of racing from Fair Grounds Saturday. But a news release distributed by TVG Thursday said broadcaster Caton Bredar would be on-site there.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network and NFL.com reported Payton decided to get tested for COVID-19 after having cold-like symptoms.