Three freak accidents involving two horses and one groom occurred at the Virginia Fall Races.
Race officials reported that Irv Naylor’s horse Wolfe Tone had to be euthanized after breaking his leg on a turn between the second-to-last and last fences in the $35,000 National Sporting Library/Chronicle Cup Timber Stakes.
Ridden by Mark Beecher and trained by William Meister of Maryland, the 7-year-old bay gelding (Partner’s Hero—Linkashot, Celtic Cone) had three point-to-point wins since starting over fences in 2009.
Wolfe Tone won his first sanctioned race in the novice timber at the Fair Hill Races (Md.) in May and had a lifetime of $11,500 in jump earnings.
On Sunday, Beverly Steinman’s Perfect Edge fell with jockey Jeff Murphy in the $10,000 maiden hurdle. He broke a shoulder and was later euthanized.
This was the 5-year-old’s first foray into steeplechasing. The bay gelding (Pleasantly Perfect—Winner’s Edge, Seeking The Gold), trained by Doug Fout, had seven starts and $13,900 in career earnings over hurdles and more than $38,000 on the flat. His best finish came in September when he was second at a stakes race in Saratoga (N.Y.).
In a bizarre accident, trainer Gary Baker’s groom, Stoney Woodward, was hit in the head by the horse he was unbridling on Saturday.
Woodward is the longtime assistant of the late trainer Dorothy Smithwick and is now helping Baker with her former charges.
At first the 34-year-old Woodward felt fine, despite the shiner on his eye, but when he later went into a seizure, an ambulance was called.
Baker said Woodward was transported to INOVA Fairfax Hospital, where he was put into a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator so he could have tests done to see if he had any brain bleeding or fractures.
“He has some broken bones on his face but is doing fine,” Baker said. “His face is still very swollen. Stoney is back home now and wants to get back to work.”