A pace car crashed into horses in a horrific accident Friday at Freehold Raceway.
Miraculously, the seven horses involved came out of the accident unscathed.
"The initial inspection was that the horses are all okay," said Freehold Raceway director of racing and race secretary Karen Fagliarone.
Hall of Famer Catello Manzi, Debra Rucker and Vince Ginsburg were transported to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and are in stable condition. Another driver Jim Pantaleano was taken to another local hospital, but there are no reports on his condition.
The most seriously injured Manzi suffered a punctured lung and cracked ribs and was "in absolute agony," said Fagliarone. Only the lead horse, Civic Duty driven by James Clarry, avoided the car.
"We don't know what happened. It was definitely a freak mishap. Something I've never seen in 40 years in racing," said Fagliarone.
Freehold's General Manager Howard Bruno said that ice was not reported on the track and didn't believe that to be a factor. He immediately canceled the final six races of the day following the accident.
"We had no prior indications or issues from the first four races," said Bruno. "It was quite unexpected. The horses are all OK. I don't know and don't want to speculate on the drivers."
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