06/02/2010 11:00PM

Gaffney, exercise rider of Secretariat, dies


Jim Gaffney Sr., the regular exercise rider of champion Thoroughbreds Secretariat and Riva Ridge, died on Thursday from pneumonia. He was 75.

Gaffney lived in Commack, N.Y. In addition to being the exercise rider, he worked as a mutuel clerk at the New York Racing Association from 1957 until 2000 when he retired.

Gaffney exercised horses for many years - and got on Northern Dancer, Spanish Riddle Angle Light and Fort Marcy - but retired after Secretariat retired in 1973.

"It was hard to top that for $2 an hour," said Gaffney's son, Jim Gaffney Jr.

A viewing will be held Friday from 2-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Brueggemann Funeral Home, 522 Larkfield Rd., E. Northport, N.Y. 11731.

A funeral service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 289 Burr Rd., E. Northport, N.Y.

Gaffney is survived by his wife Mary, sister Nancy Carr, son Jim, daughter Deserie and six grandchildren.