A full probe has been launched into what caused a major accident at Freehold Raceway earlier this month.

Screen shot from video of accident at Freehold Raceway (Freehold Raceway)

A pace car skidded on the wet track January 10 sending horses and drivers colliding. Five drivers were taken to hospitals in serious condition. Horses suffered cuts and bruises.

“There is an investigation being conducted and our purpose is to try to determine what caused this,” Frank Zanzuccki, the executive director for the Commission, told the Asbury Park Press. “We are engaged in the process of gathering all of the facts.”

The investigation could take several months.

The incident led to a meeting mediated by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey over concerns about the track. “As a result of this meeting, we all seem to agree that there is a need for an independent track expert to review the track surface and the manner in which it is maintained,” said SBOANJ president Tom Luchento according to a press release.

Concerns were also raised by drivers that they faced retribution if they complained scratches of horses on bad weather days. Luchento and the track's Director of Racing Karen Fagliarone both told the horsemen there would be no retribution and stressed the importance of communication between drivers and judges.

The SBOANJ also asked the Raceway to pay for costs related to the accident including equipment replacement and veterinarian bills. They asked that owners that could not race after the accident be compensated and that the $4,300 purse be divided among the seven starters in the race that was called a "no contest."

 

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CAUTION: Video may be disturbing to some