A nearly horrific accident marred the fourth race $10,000 claiming pace at Freehold Raceway Saturday. Fortunately all eight harness racing drivers and horses were able to walk off the track and none required the assistance of an ambulance.
The race was declared a "no contest" and all wagers were refunded to the betting public. Only three horses actually finished the race.
The race started off with driver Jack Baggitt, Jr. and Urbino Hanover going to the early lead from post 1 but they made a break and went inside the pylons. Then trainer/driver Nick Surick and Medoland Big Cam went to the lead but by the quarter pole they went off-stride and fell to the track causing the melay with the trailing horses piling up and being interfered with.
Unable to finish the race in addition to Urbino Hanover and Medoland Big Cam were Newsam (Steve Smith) and Mister Barnett N (Mark Lewis). Stoman and driver Vincent Ginsburg went off-stride and was distanced from the field.
The winner of the race was Lemon Drop Hall and driver Jim Pantaleano, who was in second place and despite being interfered with when the accident occurred were able to avoid further problems and won by ten and one-quarter lengths in 2:04.
"It was very lucky that none of the drivers or the horses were seriously hurt," Said Karen Fagliarone, Freehold Raceway's race secretary. "It looked pretty bad at first, but other than some scrapes and bruises everyone was able to walk off the track."
By Steve Wolf