Columbus, OH — Elizabeth “Betty” McGovern, of Freehold, N.J., died peacefully April 20, 2020. Although she had been suffering from dementia for the last few years, she had recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Born on Staten Island, N.Y., she met her husband, former horseman driver/trainer Jim McGovern, at age 16. They married not long after, and spent the majority of their lives traveling from racetrack to racetrack. The two actually petitioned to have The Meadowlands built in the early 1970s.
She was a former member of the group known as the Speedy Fillies back in the day. This group consisted of the wives of the sport’s most prominent drivers and trainers. Horses were and always will be an essential part of their family.
Her son, Jamie, followed in his dad’s footsteps and also drove and trained horses until the age of 30. Her daughter, Karen Fagliarone, has worked at Freehold Raceway for more than 40 years, including serving as the racing secretary since 2009. Her son-in-law, Mike Fagliarone, was also a driver/trainer, and is now the Freehold track superintendent. Her granddaughter, Gina Fagliarone, is an accomplished rider and horse enthusiast.
She loved life, her daily afternoon cocktail, always a cigarette in hand, and cooking for friends and family.
In addition to her children, she is survived by five grandchildren, Michael Fagliarone, Christine McNamee, Gina Fagliarone, Kristi McGovern, and Karli McGovern; and five great-grandchildren, Michael, Madison, Myles, Emma, and Lorenzo.
Her family would like to thank the nurses and caretakers who sat with her and made her as comfortable as possible in her final days. They would also like to thank everyone in the harness racing community for their outpouring of support.
A celebration of life will be held when circumstances permit. In lieu of flowers, her family requests memorial contributions to www.specialstrides.com in her name. Special strides is a non-profit organization devoted to improving the lives of special need individuals through equine therapy.