An accident at the Summerside Raceway Tuesday night has left a racehorse driver shaken by a near collision.
During Race 11 a starting gate broke and flew towards the oncoming racehorses pacing at full speed behind the gate.
Brodie MacPhee, a racehorse driver from Clyde River, said he's lucky to be alive. The right wing of the starting gate broke and fell off the truck and into the path of MacPhee’s horse.
“I'm still kind of in disbelief, how it came down. Somebody or something was watching out for me the other night, and I'm very lucky,” he said.
“I grabbed a hold of my horse as best I could, and closed my eyes and hoped for the best, and somehow he managed to tiptoe over it without getting his foot caught in it.”
His horse got away with scrapes, bruises and a few stitches.
Everyone else was fine.
The race was called a no-contest.
Rocky Schurman is a horse owner, driver, and vice-president of the Prince County Horsemen's Club, which owns and maintains the starting gate.
“Is it a maintenance thing, could it have been prevented? I don't think so, no. For one thing it’s metal. I don't think it could have been prevented,” he said.
The track has brought in the starting gate from Charlottetown for the rest of the week.
The Atlantic Lottery Corporation speaks for the raceway. In an email to CBC News they said it as an “unfortunate accident.”
'It was a traumatic incident for me. Just a bounce the wrong way could have been fatal' - Brodie MacPhee, racehorse driver
“The safety of drivers and horses is paramount to Red Shores and to our partners and we are all working together to ensure that it won't happen again,” the email said.
MacPhee says he is now lobbying for more frequent inspections of starting gates.
“It was a traumatic incident for me. Just a bounce the wrong way could have been fatal.”
The Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission agrees.
They issued a directive to all Maritime tracks, to immediately have a licensed mechanic inspect their starting gates.
The commission will discuss at its next meeting, whether or not it will create a permanent inspection program.
The Summerside starting gate is being repaired and should be back in service next week.
Brodie MacPhee is from Clyde River, not Stratford as this story previously stated.Jul 18, 2014 6:37 AM AT