Owner of dead horse criticizes TRPB report

April 08, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

The owner and trainer of a horse that was electrocuted at Pimlico Race Course have criticized a report made by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau that labels the incident "an unavoidable accident."

In the memorandum, TRPB agent John Key-- partially attributes the accident to Fox Brush, the horse that was killed, and not on negligence by the track or its employees.

The report was dated April 3 but was not released until three days later, after it was perused by Martin Jacobs, general counsel for Pimlico management.

"It's outrageous, an absolutely worthless report," said Fox Brush's owner, S. Bonsal White, after it was read to him yesterday. "Of course, it's not unexpected, considering the source. The only culprit is the horse [according to Key--'s finding], and he's dead."

Small called the report "ludicrous. . . . a joke. . . . absolutely pathetic."

Key-- wrote the report without interviewing Small, who was an eyewitness to the accident. The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration is conducting its own investigation into the accident.

Pimlico general manager Jim Mango said yesterday that Pimlico pays Key--'s salary and that he is considered "a quasi-employee" of the track even though he represents the TRPB, the investigative arm of the Thoroughbred Racing Association.

"He is a private investigator and is absolutely truthful," Mango said.

The accident occurred last Thursday after Fox Brush, a 3-year-old gelding, was loaded into an auxiliary starting gate during training. A cable used to charge the batteries that operate the gate was unplugged from the gate's battery charger but was still connected to a nearby standard 120 volt outlet.

Key--'s report surmises that Fox Brush jarred the cable either when he went into the gate or after he was in it, and caused the cable's electrical prongs "by chance" to come into contact with rainwater.

"This repositioning formed a direct electrical connection to the starting gate, which . . . . provided enough voltage to cause severe electrical shock," the report said.

The horse's rider, Richard Clayton Beck, grabbed the gate and was hit by the current. Beck was treated and released after spending one day at Sinai Hospital.

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