Day At The Track

Several injured after horses crash during race

08:20 PM 14 Nov 2016 NZDT
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Horseman watching the replay of accident
Horseman watching the replay of accident

Several people were injured after a group of horses collided during harness racing in North Sydney, Canada on Saturday.

Three horses and their drivers bumped into each other at Northside Downs. The drivers were all taken to hospital and the horses were able to leave the track on their own.

“It's very scary what can happen out there,” said horseman Donnie Ellis. “Sometimes you can't avoid it. There was a case (Saturday), the guys behind it couldn't avoid it.”

Sunday is race day at the Truro track. There's relief that no one was seriously injured in the accident, but many say it's a risk they face as part of their sport.

“It's all part of the racing,” said horseman Darren Crowe. “I mean, guys that drive horses every day are used to kind of dealing with those situations and it does happen.”

“We're in a sport where you've got 1,200 pound animals inches apart on the race track and everybody's flying, trying to get the win,” said driver Dale Spence. “You know, sometimes when mistakes happen and it was not necessarily anybody's fault, just those things happen sometimes.”  

One of the horsemen suffered a concussion, while another broke his hip and shoulder and a third with undetermined injuries.

In harness racing, drivers must wear a Kevlar vest and a helmet for protection. Safety is always on their minds, but that doesn't mean injuries can't happen.

“You try not to think about it but you got to be on your toes at all times watching for everything,” said Ellis. “You just dread that it don't happen.”

Most drivers that have been hurt can't wait to get back on the track, such as Bernard McCallum, who was off eight months with a broken kneecap.

“It's just in my blood,” said McCallum. “It's just something, you love the sport. And you just keep going. That's all.”

Racing at Northside Downs has ended for the year. They'll be back at Truro Raceway next week.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.

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