Tuesday, March 3, 2009

All Okay After Horrific Accident At Woodbine

Harness racing fans watching Monday night's fifth race at Woodbine, the $55,400 Ontario Boys Pacing Series final, witnessed a freak eight-horse accident when Warp Speed mis-stepped in third position just before the half and tumbled to the ground taking out the remainder of the field.

The race was moving evenly enough into the backstretch as Randy Waples and Dinner Guest burst from fourth position into the lead with eventual winner Windsun Twister sitting comfortable in second when the chaotic mishap occurred. From third position, Warp Speed, under a drive from Mario Baillargeon, fell suddenly on his side causing a chain reaction as a shocked track announcer Ken Middleton called, "and he (Warp Speed) is down, look out. We've got a massive pileup in the backfield as Warp Speed just dropped." With a bit of quick thinking, Middleton advised that a loose horse was now racing the wrong way in the safety lane towards the paddock, before going on to call the remainder of the race.

It was a surreal stretch run as just two horses made their way towards the finish line and Luc Ouelette moved Windsun Twister comfortably out of the pocket to overtake Waples on the spent Dinner Guest. There's a startling moment as Waples is overtaken, when he looks over his shoulder to see who might be coming, followed by a hard double take as Waples realizes that there is not a single horse chasing him. Both drivers crossed the wire looking across the backstretch seemingly in shock at the events that just unfolded without their knowledge.

Thankfully all eight horses involved in the pileup have come out of the incident healthy but for a few scrapes and bruises.

Drivers Roger Mayotte (Shiny Mach), Robert Shepherd (Rust Belt), Mario Baillargeon (Warp Speed) and Chris Christoforu (Hemingway Hudson) were injured in the accident though it appears that only Mayotte and Shepherd were seriously hurt. According to Trot Insider, Mayotte has suffered a broken shoulder and Shepherd has a possible broken leg.

If you have a HorsePlayer Interactive account, you can watch the race by logging in and clicking to view the replay of Monday night's fifth race.

Kudos to the track officials for quickly managing what could have been a difficult incident. Triple Dead Heat hopes that all participants in the race recover fully and swiftly.


Wendy said...

WOW! Glad the outcome came out as well as it did!

LyndaP31 said...

Darn! I tried to join but I live in the states and it won't let me. Mabe it will be on YouTube!!

Unknown said...

Oh that's horrifying to watch on TV or internet, yet MUCH worse to witness in person---a scar to anyone who was there, for sure.

Thank the stars everyone's (mostly) OK.