COLLINSVILLE, IL (KTVI) – Two jockeys are recovering after a collision at the Fairmount Park racetrack. It happened Tuesday afternoon during the third horse race of the day.
The daytime races at Fairmount, known as “Horse Hooky Tuesdays,” are a time-honored tradition for many. Brenda Sisk often comes with a dozen or so friends. “It’s a good time to get a bunch of people and come on over,” she says.
But the good time came to a grinding halt when two horses and two jockeys collided and went down. “We were all watching. It was not a pleasant sight, to see the horses go down and not see the jockeys get back up. It was ugly,” says Barb Shelton, who came to the races with Sisk.
Fairmount Park Spokesman Jon Sloane says such serious accidents are rare: “Occasionally they’re just running, a horse will just trip, and if one horse goes down, another horse will inevitably trip over him, and that’s pretty much what happened today.”
The crash hits close to home for Jim Watkins, since he grew up around race horses and is familiar with the jockeys. As soon as he saw the crash, he ran over to make sure the jockeys were all right. He explains, “I’ve met one of them and know who the other one is, so obviously thinking about them.”
The two jockeys, Robert Cummings and Rohan Singh, were rushed to the hospital. Singh suffered chest trauma. Both are expected to recover, but unfortunately, a race horse named Shakkerena had to be euthanized.
Sloane explains, “If a race horse gets a serious injury, a broken leg or something like that, they just won’t heal properly. They are skittish and high strung; you can’t sedate them for months while they’re healing.”
After the collision, the race continued as the rest of the horses were just seconds from the finish line. The only interruption to the remaining races was a 15 minute delay.
Sisk laments, “I’m surprised they did not call the races off. I mean afterwards it was hard to get back into the excitement because it took a while to get everybody off the field and everything.”
Even though spectators were shocked and disturbed, most said they’d be back for some more racing and betting next Tuesday.