David Malone, racetrack steward, dies

David Malone died on Jan. 13 at 89. David Malone died on Jan. 13 at 89. Photo Credit: Handout

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When longtime Long Islander David Malone was a state racetrack steward, his children would often tag along -- sometimes catching glimpses of celebrities and sports stars, such as Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford.

The horse track "was the place to be," said his son, Stephen Malone, 62, of Massapequa.

He said his father, who suffered from heart disease and died on Jan. 13 at 89, was "very well-respected around the racetrack."

David Malone grew up in Oyster Bay, graduating from St. Dominic High School. There, he met his future bride, Catherine Ronan.

He never went to college. Instead, he joined the Army and served as an infantryman, fighting in Europe during World War II.

Stephen Malone said his father seldom talked about his combat experiences, but he once recalled the rigors of "digging holes in the freezing ground" while preparing for a winter battle.

After the war, Malone returned to Long Island and married Catherine. They moved to Westbury, where they would raise seven children.

In 1951, Malone became an apprentice with the State Racing and Wagering Board. Over the years, he became a "big shot" at area racetracks, his son said. He oversaw licensing for jockeys and made the final call in races ending in photo finishes.

Over the next three decades, he alternated between the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga racetracks. In the 1980s, he ran the Finger Lakes Racetrack upstate, his family said.

Malone was an avid sports fan and loved the Brooklyn Dodgers and Green Bay Packers of the Bart Starr era. Recently, his son said, he held out hope that Notre Dame's football team would earn a national championship.

Despite his age, David Malone refused to give up golf, often playing at Eisenhower Park with friends.

Stephen Malone said his father was also a fixture on the sidelines of his grandchildren's games. He was "always there with a chair," the son said.

In addition to his wife and son, survivors include six other children: Suzanne Swahn of Amityville, Christine Clasen of Farmingdale, Kevin Malone of Massapequa, Michael Malone of Woodbury, Rosemary Malone of Levittown, and Jim Malone of Wantagh. He is also survived by his sister, Gertrude Malone of Syosset; 20 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

A funeral was held Jan. 17 at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Levittown. Burial followed at Calverton National Cemetery.

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