Yonkers Raceway Resumes Racing After Serious Accident Injures Drivers
Yonkers Raceway has resumed racing after a serious accident during the eighth race on Friday left at least four drivers injured. The incident led to the cancellation of the final race of the evening and put all scheduled events over the weekend on hold as racetrack officials launched an investigation into the incident.
The accident occurred when one horse tripped, triggering a domino effect as trailing horses collided with the sulky in front. In a video of the incident, one driver appeared to be propelled at least seven feet into the air as his cart hit a horse lying on the track. Another driver may have been trampled by a horse or hit by its flailing sulky.
Driver Tyler Butler fractured his ribs and collarbone in the accident, while Bob di Nozzi was left with broken ribs, and Jim Marohn Jr. broke his forearms and a thumb. Despite being thrown from his sulky, Matt Kakaley did not suffer any serious injury. Fortunately, no horses were injured in the crash.
The safety of the horses and drivers is a top priority, and the track’s owner, MGM Resorts, expressed gratitude to all racing officials, team members, first responders, and the racing community for their continued support of the athletes.
Harness racing has avoided much of the controversy that has plagued thoroughbred racing in recent years, such as equine fatalities and doping scandals. However, some quarters of the industry are opposed to the federal Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) due to the expenses involved and the lack of federal funding to support its directives.
The harness racing has improved its safety measures over the past three decades, which include the introduction of spokeless wheel hubs and the removal of the hub rail. Additionally, the sport has been exempted from HISA due to its better safety record.
Despite the improved safety measures, there were at least 24 race-related deaths of standardbred racehorses in 2021. Comparatively, there were 366 thoroughbred race-related deaths in the same year. The industry continues to work towards improving safety standards and minimizing the risks associated with racing.