A brief note to wish Michael Forte well. Forte was hurt in an accident at Monticello Raceway yesterday where there was a five horse pile up. Michael was sent flying and after he landed he got run over by the trailing horses. Amazingly the five horse escaped unscathed (could you imagine if this happened with the runners?) and only Michael was seriously hurt. Hopefully, he will recover quickly. Our best wishes go out to him.
The press release indicated three horses finished the race and it was declared official. EXCUSE ME? Two horses were loose on the track and running the other way. Fortunately they were caught before the field headed back into the backstretch the second time, but what if they were not caught? There have been cases of horses running into each other causing serious injury and fatalities to the horses and the potential exists for serious injury to the drivers.
Accidents unfortunately are part of harness racing. That being said, are we and the gamblers that heartless that we continue the race even if it means possibly putting the drivers and horses in danger? I think not. The rules need to be change regarding races continuing when there is an accident. I am not saying races should stop in all cases, but certainly in the case of a horse running in the opposite direction. I propose the following rule change:
In the event a horse gets loose during the running of a race and runs in the opposite direction of the race and the potential exists for the field to come into contact with the loose horse during the race, the drivers will be instructed to immediately pull their horses up and the race will be declared 'no contest' and all wagers will be refunded. If less than a half mile of the race has been run, the race will be re-run after the last race on the card. If there was an accident during the running of the race, any horses involved in the accident will be examined by a vet and as appropriate will be scratched from the restart. The race may be run for purse money only or the the track may offer wagering on the race at their discretion.
Update: It is reported that Michael Forte's injuries are not as bad as originally feared. He suffered a broken collarbone and cracked ribs. We wish him a speedy recovery.