Horses and their drivers are back on the track tonight at Miami Valley Gaming and Racing in Warren County.
Less than 24 hours ago, a horse drowned in a mishap during one of the races.
Bill Crawford, executive director of the Ohio State Racing Commission, said driver Kayne Kauffman was knocked during a race Monday night from the sulky cart being pulled by the horse during a race accident.
An outrider — a person on horseback at the track during races — caught the animal, but it broke loose and ran into one of the ponds in the infield of the track, Crawford said. Rescue efforts failed, and the horse drowned in the pond.
Officials did not identify the horse, but at the racetrack Tuesday multiple sources said it was “He’s a Perfect 10.”
“Maybe it’s never happened before in Ohio,” said Crawford, who has worked with the commission for 23 years.
John Ackley of Washington Courthouse, who races horses at the track, said he heard about what happened Monday night.
“You’re disappointed for the animal, for their driver, for the trainer, for the people that own them,” he said. “And I mean it’s just a tragic thing.”
Ackley said accidents like that are rare.
“He just got so afraid that he didn’t know where to go or what to do. Normally, that doesn’t happen. Normally, a horse doesn’t leave the racecourse.”
Jerry Abner, director of marketing at the racino, confirmed the drowning and later released a statement.
“On Monday, March 25, at Miami Valley Gaming & Racing, an unfortunate accident occurred during the day’s live harness racing meet that resulted in the death of a horse. The horse became spooked and ran into a pond at the track where it drowned despite efforts by MVG staff to save the animal.
“The safety of our staff, harness racing drivers and the horses is always of utmost concern at Miami Valley Gaming. We regularly review safety procedures and protocol and will continue to do so. Thanks to the Warren County Technical Rescue Team, Turtle Creek Fire and EMS, and rescue personnel from Salem Twp., Harlan Twp., Deerfield Twp. and city of Lebanon who assisted MVG with the incident,” said the statement.
Ackley said horses that race in Warren County can be valued anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. But he said the loss is much more than financial because of the emotional investment into the animals.
“You become attached to them, you know,” he said.
Crawford said the incident would be reviewed by the commission.
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