Laurel guard is hurt by truck after races

December 14, 1992|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

A traffic guard at Laurel Race Course was in critical condition last night after he was struck by a vehicle driven by another track employee after the last race.

Charles Dixon, 67, was flown by helicopter to Prince George's-Cheverly Hospital in Cheverly, where he was admitted into the facility's intensive care unit.

Dixon was directing traffic near the Route 198 entrance to the track when he was hit by a pickup truck driven by Gary Schmidl, a longtime assistant on the starting gate.

According to initial reports in the office of Laurel general manager Jim Mango, Dixon was knocked unconscious and was bleeding from the back of the head. He regained consciousness before he was taken to the Prince Georges hospital.

Another guard working in the same area apparently had waved Schmidl on, but then Dixon put up his hand to stop him. Schmidl told track authorities he swerved to avoid hitting Dixon, but couldn't. A portion of the grille of Schmidl's truck was knocked out.

Eyewitnesses said Schmidl was not speeding.

Eric Blind, track starter, said Schmidl has worked on the gate for about 12 years. "I got there right after the accident happened," Blind said. "Gary was in kind of a stupor. He told me the guy stepped right out in front of him."

Mango said Dixon is a longtime Laurel employee.

Up-and-down weekend

One Bassford highweight lost over the weekend at Laurel, but another one won.

Brilliant Brass might have been a disappointment for owners Nick and Elaine Bassford on Saturday after she lost the Carousel Handicap at Laurel, carrying highweight of 124 pounds.

But yesterday another one of their horses, Ameri Valay, scored his third 1992 stakes victory in the Annapolis Handicap.

In his last start, Ameri Valay led wire-to-wire and equaled Fappavalley's record in the Northern Dancer Stakes. Yesterday the 3-year-old son of Carnivalay showed his versatility. He carried highweight of 120 pounds in a 12-horse field, but despite getting in trouble, drew off in the stretch.

Ameri Valay came from off a fast pace set by Northern Launch and Majesty's Turn, was taken up by jockey Larry Reynolds at the top of the stretch, but still came on and beat Late Guest by four lengths.

It was the 13th 1992 stakes win for the Bassfords, whose stable has passed the $1 million mark this year.


Owner Frank Hopkins Jr. and trainer Tim Boyce are carrying on the good work of Jim Ryan Jr., who started a drive last year to give turkeys to the families of backstretch workers during the holiday season. Hopkins and Boyce are soliciting donations in an effort to supply 300 Christmas turkeys. Donations may be mailed to Maryland Horsemen's Assistance Fund, Attn: Dan Seamans, 6314 Windsor Mill Road, Baltimore, Md. 21207. . . . Edgar Prado won three races at Laurel yesterday, breaking a 51-win tie with jockey Rick Wilson for the meet lead. . . . Harriet Finkelstein of Pikesville has decided to breed her multiple stakes-winning filly Diamond Duo to Dixieland Band next year. The filly bowed a tendon in the Breeders' Cup Distaff and was retired. . . . Helen Chenery of Meadow Stud fame sold her last two broodmares at the Timonium bloodstock sales last weekend.

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