Yonkers Raceway Resumes Racing After Accident Injured Four Drivers
Yonkers Raceway resumed racing on Monday after a serious accident occurred on Friday that left at least four drivers injured. The accident took place during the eighth race on Friday when one horse tripped coming into the first bend. This led to a chain reaction as trailing horses crashed into the sulky in front. One driver was thrown at least seven feet into the air as his cart hit a horse lying on the track, while another driver may have been trampled or hit by a flailing sulky.
Despite the severity of the accident, no horses were injured, but three drivers were not as fortunate. Tyler Butler and Bob di Nozzi suffered fractured ribs, with Butler also fracturing his collarbone. Jim Marohn Jr. broke his forearms and a thumb, while Matt Kakaley, who was thrown from his sulky, did not sustain any serious injuries. All drivers are expected to make a full recovery.
The final race of the evening on Friday was canceled, and all scheduled events over the weekend were put on hold as the racetrack officials launched an investigation into the accident, which was the first of its kind at the racetrack in five years.
The accident served as a reminder of the importance of safety in horse racing. Harness racing has generally avoided the controversy that has plagued thoroughbred racing, such as the spike in equine fatalities at Santa Anita in 2017. This led to the enactment of the federal Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) in 2020, which established national safety standards for the horse racing industry.
Despite the improved safety record in harness racing, there have still been race-related deaths of standardbred racehorses. In 2021, there were at least 24 such deaths, a stark contrast to the 366 thoroughbred horse deaths in the same year.
The horse racing industry has made strides in improving safety, including the introduction of spokeless wheel hubs and the removal of the hub rail to reduce the risk of pileups. While harness racing has been exempt from HISA due to its safety record, the industry continues to focus on improving safety measures to protect both horses and drivers.