After the start of the fifth race at Freehold Raceway Friday afternoon the starting gate car slipped on the muddy track surface and slid down into the upcoming field of harness horses. All but one of the seven starters in the race crashed into the starting gate.
Fortunately, all of the horses in the race escaped with only minor injuries and were able to walk off the track. Of the seven drivers involved in the accident, most were not able to walk off the track. Five drivers, Catello Manzi, Debra Rucker, Vincent Ginsburg, Chris Scicluna and Jim Pantaleano were taken to the hospital to be checked out.
After the fifth race trot got underway, Civic Duty and James Clarry had moved to the early lead and they were able to miss the accident by only a couple of inches.
The video of the race shows that after entering the first turn the starting gate began to slide in the mud and then headed towards the infield. After Civic Duty barely cleared by, Silver Delivery and driver Debra Rucker ran right into the starting gate and that caused a chain reaction accident among all but one of the trailing horses.
The horse in last place at the time actually ran into the end of the gate and the hood of the starting gate car.
Race officials declared the race a non-contest and refunded all wagers. They also canceled the rest of the live race program that afternoon.
By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com