Monday, July 27, 2009

Five horses, riders down at Colonial (updated)

Keeping an eye on Colonial Downs tonight via charts only from a state away, I make sad and nervous note that Race 6 at the track was marred by what must be one of the bigger spills of horses and riders you will see at a racetrack outside of one of NASCAR "Big Ones" at Talladega.

Five horses and riders -- nearly a sixth tandem -- failed to finish the race after one horse broke down at the three-eighths pole. (Equibase chart.)

According to the chart -- I've yet to see video and I'm not sure that I care to -- 4-year-old maiden gelding Win the Appeal broke down with three eighths of a mile to go in the 5 1/2-furlong turf event, taking rider Christian J. Olmo to ground with him. In the pileup, Native's Return "stumbled over a fallen horse" and unseated Josean G. RamirezPapa Im "fell over a fallen horse near the three-eighths pole" and spilled apprentice Andria Terrill; first-time-starter Saratoga Gem, who was "outrun" to this point, "unseated his rider (Eric Vera Rodriguez) when stumbling over a fallen horse midway on the turn," and Junk Yard Jack and Christopher VanHassel "trailed and fell over a fallen horse" near the three-eighths pole.

According to the chart, Tom Foley and eventually seventh-place Here Comes Stormy jumped a downed horse, nearly sending Foley out of the irons. Stevica Djuric was able to check up Wada Zany Day between horses and miss the melee, going on to finish fifth.

The race was won by Malcolm Franklin aboard the Phil Schoenthal-trained Bullet Dodger, who was the even-money favorite and -- by leading throughout -- was able to live up to his name on this night.

Unlike NASCAR, where I'm convinced a certain (sometimes significant) percentage of the fans are on-hand for the crashes as much as the racing, nobody ever likes to see this sort of tragedy among the horses.

I've yet to notice any condition reports on either horses or riders. In a spill such as this, it's probable one or more of the horses have been put down, and of course the riders who go to ground are at great risk, as well.

My prayers go out to all -- horses, riders, and other connections -- and if I get further news, I'll pass it along.

Update: Andria Terrill was due to ride Grantor in the seventh and Purely Precious in the eighth race and was off both mounts. She had just won Race 5 aboard Marciella before she fell in Race 6.

Josean Ramirez, who had won Race 2 aboard Hell of a Bell, was taken off three mounts after the spill. 

Chip VanHassel was to have ridden Fundit in Race 8 and Undeniable Sin in the 10th and did not.

It appears that Christian Olmo and Eric Rodriguez had no more mounts scheduled on the card after Race 6, in which they fell.

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