Randy Rouse, 62-year-old steeplechase rider from Fairfax, will be watching the Warrenton Hunt point-to-point races Saturday from his window at the Fauquier Memorial Hospital, which sits on a hill overlooking the racing track.
A nine-time winner of the Casanova Cup, and a rider in the 2 1/2-mile timber steeplechase that annually has opened the Virginia racing season, for over 20 years, Rouse was injured Saturday when his horse, Cousin Wes, stumbled and Rouse went off.
"I really got clobbered," said Rouse from his hospital bed, "my head, my eye... both ankles and a knee."
Rouse has two breaks on one leg and one in the other but none are compound. Both legs are in casts and his stay in the hospital is undetermined at this point.
"It was a freak accident," he said. "We sort of got left at the start when he wheeled sideways... then we got going and began picking the other horses up... it was real boggy down in the ravine and I guess we were moving too fast... he stumbled... almost fell... and I went off and under him."
Cousin Wes, the veteran 11-year-old chestnut gelding who had won this same race last year in equally poor footing, evidently kicked of stepped on Rouse after he went off. The horse was not injured.
With Rouse and Cousin Wes, the favorities, out, the race went down to the wire among defending Seven Corners champion Mike duPont on Hami, Virginia's top rider Randy Waterman on Helix and newcomer Peter Jay on Chadds Ford. It was Chadds Ford by a nose at the finish with Helix second and Hami third.
"I told doc not to put too much plaster on me, I might miss the weight," said Rouse. "It's really awful... here I am with two really good horses ready to go and I'm flat on my back."