Jockeys voted to cancel the last five races at Laurel Race Course yesterday because of unsafe track conditions after a two-horse accident resulted in the death of one horse.
The majority vote was taken after Mr. Coy, a 3-year-old colt ridden by Alberto Delgado, broke both forelegs as he rallied into third place along the rail with one-sixteenth of a mile left in the fourth race. After Delgado was thrown under the inner rail, Rambunctious Hank slammed into Mr. Coy, throwing jockey James Wallace.
Mr. Coy, the 6-to-5 favorite, was destroyed. Rambunctious Hank appeared unhurt.
Both jockeys were taken by stretcher to Laurel's first-aid station. Delgado was treated and released for arm and shoulder bruises. Wallace was transported to Laurel-Beltsville Medical Center for leg X-rays, according to Dr. Benjamin Manchester, Laurel's track physician.
The race was won by Meadow Dictator, who paid $17.
The incident took place after Laurel President Frank DeFrancis expressed displeasure with the jockeys' decision to cancel racing Tuesday because of ice. DeFrancis was not at Laurel yesterday, but Bob Manfuso, Laurel's vice president, consulted jockeys after each of the first three races.
According to Donald Miller Jr., a spokesman for the jockeys guild, jockeys voted to ride before the first race. Miller said the track's condition was acceptable at post time but gradually deteriorated.
"There definitely should have been racing here today," he said. "The problem is that the track is frozen underneath, and it gradually started getting slicker as it was getting warmer. That made for dangerous conditions. Whether or not it was the cause of what happened, we'll never know. But most of the jocks didn't want to take a chance."
Jockey Vince Bracciale Jr., another guild representative, said, "Some horses will handle the track well and some won't. You just hope you get on one of the horses that can handle it."
Delgado did not like the track's surface. "I didn't want to ride after the second race, but I had a commitment," he said. "My horse was sliding all the way around the turn (in the fourth race). My personal opinion is that it was unsafe. I'm not going to blame (the accident) on the track, but I think it certainly had something to do with it."
Yesterday's cancellation was the third this week at Laurel. Track officials have indicated they will seek Maryland Racing Commission approval to make up the lost days by operating on their two remaining dark Wednesdays. Laurel's meeting is to end Feb. 16. Pimlico will open the next day.
Laurel's 5,159 patrons can use yesterday's program for free admission another day this meeting.