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..