Raceway car slides into 6 horses

Last updated 15:02 11/01/2014

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A freak accident at a New Jersey raceway saw the starting gate car skid out of control and into six horses and their drivers.

The field of seven trotters was entering the first turn when the car slid towards the infield, did a 180-degree turn and faced the field head on.

Only the lead horse cleared the car, which has large gates on either side that are folded back in after a race starts.

The second horse was the first to crash into the car and the still-extended gate, with driver Catello Manzi suffering a punctured lung and cracked ribs.

Drivers Jim Pantaleano, Debra Rucker and Vince Ginsburg were also taken to the hospital complaining of a variety of injuries, Freehold Raceway director of racing and race secretary Karen Fagliarone said.

Manzi was "in absolute agony," and appeared to be the most seriously injured of the drivers, she told NJ.com.  

Manzi and the other drivers are all in a stable condition.

The accident was a "freak mishap," and they had no idea what caused the car to spin, Fagliarone said.

The final six races of the day were immediately cancelled following the accident.

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- Fairfax Media

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