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Sunday, October 16, 2011

RIP Dan Wheldon

As you know by now, Indy Car driver Dan Wheldon died today as a result of injuries in a fifteen car crash in Las Vegas.  How ironic is it that this year, this thirty-three old driver won the Indianapolis 500 and now, on the last race of the season, met his untimely end.

So what does this have to do with horse racing?  Both jockeys and drivers risk their lives each time they get in the saddle or sulky and it is often underappreciated by those that wager on the races.  In the last year or two, it seems we have seen so many accidents, but fortunately, the drivers involved have managed to survive.  However, you know never when tragedy may occur.  I was there at Yonkers Raceway when Billy Haughton got involved in the accident which eventually took his life.  Both auto and horse racing learns each time there is a fatal accident and tries to minimize the possibility of another fatal accident by making improvements but you can't escape the fact drivers and jockeys are racing at high speeds with little protection.

Sometimes we think driving or riding is easy, why can't the driver make the right move?  Remember, these riders and drivers are doing their best at high speed.  While we all want winners, our main concern should be a safe outcome for all involved, be it horse or driver.  It looks so safe, but sometimes we take the effort of these drivers and jockeys for granted.  While it is their choice of a career, the last thing we want to be is a witness to a tragedy (I can still see that race at Yonkers Raceway so many years ago) which will stay with us forever.

RIP Dan Wheldon and our sympathies to your family..  

3 comments:

riceownz2 said...

That wreck was so terrible. I keep replaying my mind the interview they did with him before the race. He was one of my favorites.

JLB said...

I have owned standardbreds for 23 years. In that time, I have had the opportunity to jog about 300 horses, mostly "bombproof" horses who could be trusted not to take advantage. I have also turned half a dozen of them and trained them. Anyone sitting in the grandstand who doubts the courage of the trainers and drivers who sit behind these horses, going at speeds over 30 mph, and following each other nose to helmet, should put themselves in a jog cart or racebike, and find out what it is like.

Pacingguy said...

I was amazed the one time I sat behind my horse. The first thing that came to mind is how these drivers are able to see around these rumps.

It takes a certain person to drive horses and I will give them all the credit in the world. I certainly wouldn't do it.