USA: Trainers and TVG staff self-isolate after contact with COVID-19 coach Sean Payton

Horse Racing Sean Payton at Oaklawn
Sean Payton (blue suit) presents the trophy after Serengeti Empress’s victory at Oaklawn.
Photo: Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography

By Jon Lees

USA: Two US trainers have gone into self-isolation over fears they could have been exposed to coronavirus through Sean Payton, head coach of the New Orleans Saints, while attending racing at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas last weekend.

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Tom Amoss and Jeremiah Englehart are in quarantine after coming into contact with Payton who became the first known NFL figure to test positive for COVID-19 after showing symptoms a day after the meeting.

Well-known racing television presenter Britney Eurton has also self-isolated, along with other TVG employees who may have come into contact, after Payton was interviewed at the track.

Although the March 14 meeting took place behind closed doors, Payton was present to represent owner and Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Parcells, who had a runner trained by Englehart.

Payton was also photographed with connections of the Amoss-trained Serengeti Empress, the 2019 Kentucky Oaks winner who captured one of the feature prizes, the win the G2 Azeri Stakes.

While Englehart was reported to have an underlying health condition, neither the trainers nor Eurton have reported any symptoms.

The pandemic continues to impact the racing programme resulting in Oaklawn moving its signature race, the G1 Arkansas Derby, from April 11 to May 2, the closing day of the live meet, for a reduced purse of $750,000.

Horse Racing Oaklawn Park
Just after the start: Last year’s Arkansas Derby. Photo: Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography

The track has also moved to put a limit on the number of visiting jockeys, only allowing those named to ride in a stakes race to attend and excluding any riders from Fair Grounds in New Orleans, until the end of the meet.

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