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2 horses killed in freak training track collision at Belmont Park

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Tragedy struck at Belmont Park yesterday leaving two thoroughbreds dead in a freak accident, and one jockey seriously injured.

The freak accident occurred after Six Drivers, owned by Island Wind Stable became spooked and suddenly “wheeled around the starting gate and bolted straight for Mike Repole’s Caixa Electronica (Portuguese for cash machine) on the training track. The two horses hit head-on near the 5-1/2 furlong pole, killing both instantly. Six Drivers suffered a fractured neck and Caixa Electronica died of a broken skull.

Although Six Driver’s exercise rider, Julio Penza was thrown from his mount when the horse bolted, he was not hurt. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Carlos Castro, who suffered a fractured pelvis and needed reconstructive surgery when Caixa went down.

Caixa Electronica, 9, had 23 wins in 69 starts (including 7 stakes victories), and earned more than $1.86 million. While he wasn’t in the same class as some of Repole’s other horses such as Stay Thirsty and Uncke Mo, he was a “true warrior,” and much beloved by fans as well as his owner and trainer Todd Pletcher.

“It’s a terrible day for racing,” commented Mike Repole. For any horse, it’s horrible. When you hear it was Caixa Electronica, its magnified. He was such an iron horse, and for him to pass away this way makes no sense.”

In the meantime, Evan Gewertz, who had just claimed the 4-year old Six Drivers on December 27th for $16,000, was equally heartbroken.

“In my twelve years of racing, I estimate we’ve had close to 1,000 starts, and this is the first horse we have ever lost,” he stated. “It’s an awful feeling, and I feel terrible for Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher.

Six Drivers, was a “relatively inexperienced” horse in the gate and was to have made his debut for Island Wind Stables at Aqueduct today.

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