09/16/2004 11:00PM

Trainer held for menacing

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A New York trainer was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree menacing, a misdemeanor, after attacking a former employee with a pitchfork, New York City police said.

Jennifer Pedersen, who trains privately for Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable, was arrested Friday morning at her Aqueduct barn after allegedly picking up a pitchfork and charging after Juan Martinez, who had worked as a groom for Pedersen. Martinez now works for another trainer at Aqueduct, according to track security officials.

"She menaced another worker with a pitchfork and stated she was going to kill him," said Det. Brian Sessa of the New York City police.

According to police, Pedersen did not strike or stab Martinez with the pitchfork. It was unclear what precipitated the attack.

Pedersen was taken to the 106th precinct in Queens, where she was being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court. As of

6:30 p.m. Friday she was still in custody.

Pedersen, 41, has trained for Paragallo since 2001.

It was the second incident at a NYRA track this week. On Tuesday, exercise rider and part-time jockey Dilip Amarsingh was allegedly stabbed to death by another exercise rider at Belmont Park.