HAMBURG, NY - An accident at the Buffalo Raceway in Hamburg on Friday night was captured on the track's telecast, and it was frightening to watch. But we found out it's just part of the sport, according to the track's general manager and a journalist who covers harness racing.
Veteran harness racing observer Tim Bojarski, who's president of the Upstate New York Harness Writers' Association, told us: "It looked spectacular. Fortunately, it was not as serious as it looked."
This is actually near the end of the January-through-July racing season.
As it turns out, four drivers went down Friday evening as a horse broke stride. Two drivers were hospitalized and have since been released. One had a broken pelvis and two fractured vertebrae.
Managers say even the horses involved just suffered abrasions and all are expected back at the track.
"Every accident is different," said Buffalo Raceway General Manager Jim Mango. "There are accidents where you might have two or three horses that will be circling around the racetrack after the accident. And they could cause problems. So normally when that happens, a couple of the horsemen in the paddock will go out and try to catch the horse."
Added Bojarski, "It's part of the game. It's a very dangerous sport. The drivers are athletes. If you go and look at a driver, they're cut. They work out. They keep their physique tight and they prepare for things like that."