Updated: Corrected the name of one of the horses and drivers involved in the accident.
There was a bad spill this afternoon during the running of the third race at Monticello Raceway. Just after the race started, the horse Stormunn fell down only to be run over by Aruba Sunset and Sweety's Finale well before the first turn. As a result of the accident, horses were down just past the finish line and a loose horse was running the opposite direction on the track. Yet, the race continued as if nothing happened. Of course, the horses had to race wide going down the stretch the two times they passed the accident but other than that, it was business as usual, and that is wrong.
It is one thing if the accident occurred late in a mile when the horses would not pass the same point on the track. It wouldn't be a problem if there was a loose horse going the same direction as the horses in the race. But this accident was just after the start (track announcer Howard Oil was just about to make his first call in the race), and a horse was going the opposite direction on the track meaning the potential was there for a head on collision between horses twice during the race, putting the remaining horses and drivers in the race at risk.
How come in Europe they can stop the race and restart it, yet we insist on the race continuing? Do we value our drivers and horses so cheaply? Is it we are afraid of having to refund the money for the horses who would not be able to answer the call to post for a restart (as if there is that much to refund)? I would like to think it isn't those reasons; it just isn't something we have ever done before?
This time there were no consequences for continuing on, but the day may come where we won't be so lucky. Racing needs to seriously rethink its policy towards race restarts when there is an accident before something tragic happens due to our refusal to address the issue.
As for the three horses and drivers (Rick Harp, Gregory Merton, and James Clouser Jr) involved in the accident, there have been no reports regarding their injuries. Hopefully,the drivers and horses have come out of the mishap with nothing more than scrapes and scratches.