NORTHFIELD, Ohio (WJW) – An investigation is underway after a horse drowned in a tragic accident at MGM Northfield Park.
The number 5 horse named ‘Alfred Hanover’ finished second place in the second race Monday night. According to Freddie Hudson of the U.S. Harness Racing Alumni Association, the horse drowned shortly after.
“They were unhooking the horse from the racing stuff and it took off into the pond with all of its equipment on,” said Hudson.
MGM Northfield Park canceled the rest of the races for Monday night.
Tuesday, the Ohio State Racing Commission confirmed they are investigating the incident, saying “We have also spoken with the management team at Northfield to better understand the circumstances of how exactly the incident occurred and what measures are being taken to prevent this type of occurrence in the future.”
Matt Buckley, general manager of MGM Northfield Park, said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by racehorse Alfred Hanover’s passing and extend our condolences to his owner, trainer and all involved.”
Buckley said they’re planning to install a fence around the water retention pond. It should be completed next week.
He also said the Racetrack is working directly with the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and Ohio Racing on the incident.
Marty Irby, the executive director of Animal Wellness Action, called on MGM Northfield Park and the harness racing industry to opt-in to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act.
The legislation took effect last week and provides an anti-doping program and oversight under new national standards.
The organization also claimed this is not the first time this has happened at MGM Northfield Park.
“If it is just there for looks, I can’t imagine it’s a good idea to have a pond in the middle of a harness racing track,” said Irby.
According to Northfield Park’s website, the canceled races from Monday night are rescheduled for Wednesday starting at 4 p.m.