Woodbine: Exercise Rider Dies After Main Track Accident; Friday’s Race Card Canceled

by | 09.08.2017 | 10:58am
Woodbine Racetrack

Exercise rider Darren Fortune, 43, died from injuries occurred during a training accident on the main track early Friday morning at Woodbine Racetrack.

The Ministry of Labour and other officials are investigating to determine the details of the accident and Woodbine Entertainment Group is offering every possible assistance.

No horses were harmed in the accident.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our community this morning and our hearts and condolences go out to his family and friends,” said Jamie Martin, Executive Vice-President Racing for Woodbine Entertainment Group.

Friday's eight-race card, slated to begin at 1 p.m., has been canceled.

UPDATE: According to a report in the Daily Racing Form, the accident occurred when the horse that Fortune was riding bolted while galloping out at the end of a workout. The horse collided with another horse jogging the other way on the first turn. Fortune was transported to the hospital by paramedics where he later died.

  • Blue Larkspur

    My condolences to those who knew him.
    Very sad.

  • Bryan Langlois

    So incredibly sad!! Condolences to all involved.

  • Olebobbowers

    Rest in Peace Exercise rider Darren Fortune. Another unsung hero of the backstretch passes doing what he dedicated himself to. ;*(

    • Shams Khadija Burga

      YES.
      Good night
      Sweet dreams

  • Ida Lee

    RIP Mr. Fortune…..my condolences to his family and co-workers….

  • Shams Khadija Burga

    A dedicated horseman!
    Good night
    Sweet dreams

  • affirmed

    First and foremost Condolences to this rider’s families, so touching to read this ! Now the racetracks must now quickly review the opposite racetrack galloping in the Mornings, as I have been at the workouts, and often wondered if not but when, there would be an accident? reason.. Horses are working on the opposite way , whilst Horses are working coming down the ususal way they races on race day, and it’s confusing, and yes very Accident awaiting to happen! dont know if most racetracks are doing this, however they should designate certain days for reverse galloping, and design days for the usual customary galloping . , that could help, as what I read in the Paulick is that this rider’s Horse was involved with another Horse going the the opposite direction.. is what I cannot understand.hoping the authorities correct this before any more of these types of accident occur.

    • I agree, it is not that uncommon to have opisit travel working on the inside galloping (or just out for a jog) on the outside seems they could allocate part of the morning to left and part to right. IMO they need to work both directions anyway or as you say one day left another right.
      usualy there are no issues but when one horse gets goofy it’s often bad,

      • affirmed

        Thanks Mr. Moo for your reply.., yet one Reply from Nathan Drake was quick to say people who knows nothing about training, should keep their opinions to themselves” well I did address his remarks, I am not on this Medium to show what I know ,I uses it just as everyone does, and when someone acts as it they know everything while they berates me, I had to let them know this is not a Beauty contest, and being disrespectful does not make them the smartest, knowing all Horse trainer owner , or Fan! I have seen everything regarding Horse racing been an owner since 1966, have seen many accidents, many injuries, many Jockeys, exercise riders sustaining permanent injuries, some during races, and some while on the exercise tracks.and yes, Spooked horses runs off with riders in the opposite directions galloping away.while doing the trotting on the opposite way. , and causes near tragic accidents, I do respect everyone on this medium, and only hurts when anyone disrespects me.

    • Nathan Drake

      This post is why people with no firsthand knowledge of training should keep their opinions to themselves.

      No one is “galloping the opposite way.” Those going against traffic have to stay on the outside and go no faster than a trot. Stop spreading false information on a subject you clearly have know nothing about.

      • Lehane

        From what you’re saying, there are still horses on the one track travelling in opposite directions – that is an unsafe practice. Darren’s tragic death is proof. The report states that 2 horses who were travelling in opposite directions collided and were not harmed…..I find it very hard to believe that they didn’t sustain any injury. We’ve lost 2 exercise riders so far this year on the east coast of Australia. One was a young woman studying at university, the other a trainer’s wife, both experienced horsewomen. The horses broke down. The Police treat these incidents as a crime scene. Worksafe also investigates as it would a person who dies in a car when struck by a huge transport truck which had a list a mile long of mechanical defects. Having done some trackwork myself, i’ve witnessed unsafe policies in place and this needs to be fixed.

        • Olebobbowers

          I couldn’t agree more with your statement ‘The report states that 2 horses who were travelling in opposite directions collided and were not harmed.’ That would not only prove improbable, but definitely impossible. They collided hard enough for the rider to sustain fatal injuries.

      • affirmed

        I dont know why? would you say people with no firsthand knowledge of training should keep their opinions to themselves etc. .as was your reply to Affirmed!! You dont know what you are talking about either, and yes the Horses are supposed to trot around the opposite way, I have seen Horses breakaway and Gallops away with exercise riders, and one morning the sirens had to go off announcing that a Breakaway horse with a rider who could not control him, and was galloping the opposite way! also another Morning while trotting the opposite way, a Horse threw the rider, and became loose! I dont know anything? You might never have seen these incidents , I am up at 2:30am and am at the Track at 4:00am I am not one who knows everything, but if you have been in this Game since 1966, and have trained and owned race horses as I have , then you can discredit my argument, I do know what I am talking about, and most importantly I think I do know more than you ..will ever know about Race horses, be nice.

        • Nathan Drake

          The more you post, the more you prove my point.

          • affirmed

            Ok seems you are in the business of arguments , and I can say the same to you , ” the more you posts shows that you are not even a horse man, just someone trying to get notice, and people of knowledge do know that I ” Horses gallop the wrong way at times during morning excercise, and do become spooky, and some riders cant hold them” I am correct! why dont you stop the illegal Horse Druggings in America,, then you can speak with me, do something that your audience that you are playing in concert to, will then give you the accolades you are seeking…I dont have time to play small games with anyone, it’s an opinionated discussions if you dont know, you have yours and I have mine, no winners , so I am not in any beauty contest, I am ugly, and would not be a finalists.

          • WT

            You are so right.

      • McGov

        Jogging the wrong way is common….but that doesn’t mean it’s right or most sensible approach to sharing the training track with hundreds of horses. If you think about it….WHY do we jog the wrong way??? Why not jog the right way?? Head on collisions are always going to be worse….OBVIOUSLY.
        It’s time that people that are stuck in this very ritual way of thinking….change THEIR thinking. If there is a better way….don’t insult the idea just because it doesn’t fit in that box. Think freely for a moment.
        WHY jog the wrong way? You don’t think we can train horses to go slow obediently the right way?? Pretty sure we can.

        • Olebobbowers

          To keep it plain and simple, “WHY jog the wrong way? You don’t think we can train horses to go slow obediently the right way??” If your suggestion were to be applied, there would be thousands more injuries by having slow moving objects cluttering up the track where the norm would be horses training at every level of speed in the same direction. I began exercising horses in 1952, along with 3 older brothers, all sired by a Dad that retired as a jockey in the late 1920’s, so trust me, I know from where I speak.

          • McGov

            I appreciate and respect your perspective.
            I imagine in my mind…..if all horses were going in the same direction….much like a highway with cars…all energy moving in the same direction, etc…less impact if colliding. If the fastest are on inside lanes only and gallopers in middle and joggers on outside rail…..not too much different from 8 lane highway. Perhaps going a step further and managing track times differently….baby hour etc….max number on track at one time….
            I have seen many times horses jogging in the same direction as horses working and galloping…..mind you there were not scores of horses at the same time on the track and it was a private, quiet setting ….but this is something you can train a horse to accept and some might argue it’s a good exercise in discipline for the horse.

          • Olebobbowers

            “some might argue it’s a good exercise in discipline for the horse.”…Not me! I recognize it as an impossible task, Mc Gov, sorry. ~

          • McGov

            After thinking about it further…..you’re right. It wouldn’t work at pubic facilities. But, IMO, the horse can handle under right circumstances….but realistically you could never get those circumstances at a public facility without incredible change ….not just at tracks but at training facilities where horses are started too.
            And horse racing can’t even agree on one set of rules hahahahaha.
            You’re right, never going to happen.

    • WT

      Horses DO NOT gallop the “wrong way” during training hours. They either walk or jog (trot) the wrong way to warm up or cool down after a gallop. When you go the wrong way you stay to the far outside rail, away from horses moving faster in the usual direction. The horse that was run into in no way was at fault. If the horse wasn’t there he would have probably hit the rail instead. Horses can be very unpredictable and sometimes dangerous. I know, I used to be an exercise rider.

  • Noelle

    Terrible. Condolences to his family and friends.

  • Alison

    This article is about DARREN FORTUNE.

    As it turns out, Darren was working a horse who bolted. So all of you arguing are …well, wrong.

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