Horse Drowns After Race at Northfield

At Northfield Park (harness) yesterday, a horse got loose after the 2nd race and drowned in the infield pond. Yes, drowned in the pond. Imagine the horror of that scene. Shockingly (as this almost never happens), track officials canceled the remaining races. While I do not have a firm confirmation yet, I believe the horse was 2-year-old Alfred Hanover. That poor, poor baby.

(Clarity note: Morally, there is not a whit of difference between this death and the death of Heavy Handed Hanna (the dangling leg) at Buffalo Friday. All deaths in horseracing are by horseracing. Full stop.)


  1. When reading this I was wondering if anyone jumped in to help, or that doesn’t happen because it’s hopeless or no one wants to get their pants wet.

    • How could they help? The horse was probably tangled in a crap load of eqpt and panicking.

  2. This has happened many times. You’d think someone would be smart enough to figure it out. Oh wait….

  3. So I am wondering just how this happens. Please I’m not trying to be stupid. But as a kid I swam with our horses. And they willingly would get in ponds and lakes to cool off. It seemed like they managed quite well and were very relaxed unless you ask them to cross rushing water. I just can not wrap my brain around this. Can anyone tell me?

    • Jennifer, I can’t explain it exactly, but I can attempt to use some degree of logic and reason. The horse was obviously NOT CALM or he would not have gotten loose and run away. It seems logical to me that the horse was really hot and tired, but scared out of his wits and panicking! He might have been drugged with something that induces some kind of hyped up sensation on top of the already hyped up situation of being raced, screamed at, yelled at and whipped to run faster and all of that kind of unsettling crap! It makes sense to me that the horse was scared out of his mind.
      With all that harness still on him and those bars (whatever they are called) attached to the bridle and the shoulder area that they use in harness racing, the bars that run from the bridle to the shoulder blades or something like that, the horse would not have had free use of his head and neck and it would have been tough for the horse to move freely or become relaxed mentally. It would have been a real struggle for the horse once he got too deep in the water and plus the horse being scared and panicking BEFORE he entered the water; whereas with your situation, you would have had your horses calm before going into the water when you were swimming with your horses plus your horses would have had some confidence and trust in you.
      This incident of a horse in harness being unhooked from the “race bike” after the second race and getting loose (while still in harness) was obviously a totally different case scenario from yours! Obviously, this “racehorse” didn’t have CONFIDENCE or TRUST in his handlers!!!! That’s a big difference!!!!

      • Also, I can’t believe that they have a set up that doesn’t take into account the obvious. Horses are obviously easily scared!!!! This is one of the main reasons why they make racehorses — because these cruel, sadistic heathens from hell can scare the hell out of the horses to make them run fast. What sense does it make to have water that’s deep enough for a horse to drown in at a racetrack???? What sense does it make to not have it fenced off with secure fencing so these kinds of accidents don’t happen???? What sense does it make to scare the hell out of horses to make them run fast????? Just because they can make money off the nature of the horses, that’s why. These horse-abusing, horse-killing idiots need to be arrested for FELONY ANIMAL CRUELTY!!!! I’m sick of this s***!!!!!

      • I suppose what you say makes really good sense. But why would t you go in to detangle it at least from the parts wrapped around their legs. A quick slice and once they are let go it had its freedom to swim. I guess this boggles my
        Mind because even harness horses that have been hard used are very mindful. Sorry I can’t wrap my mind around it. Any drugs given to a horse only cause issues. It just is crazy

    • They unhitched the horse on the track which is supposed to take place in the barn area. The race was a pace so I assume the horse was hoppled and couldn’t swim.

      • Oh yeah hobbles . That’s why you on hook in the barn senseless death that is entirely preventable

      • Oh my GOD – I didn’t think about those, Alan, just all of the tack these horses wear and assuming he/she became tangled up in it.

        Put a damn fence around that pond, you morons who run that racehorse death trap!

  4. Oh yes, I forgot that some horses wear the straps for pacing. Plus the fact the gear would have weighed him down. I don’t think a fence would stall a scared horse. He would run into it and crash. Maybe not drown but would probably kill himself crashing through a sturdy fence. Such a sad deal what these horses go through to entertain the pigs in the stands and win for his slave owners and the devil himself who teaches him how to run.

    • Carolyn, you are right about a horse running into a fence and getting hurt. It depends on what type of fencing as to the degree of possible injuries. Aside from not racing horses to begin with, they could make certain that the water was shallow enough to where horses can’t drown in it besides unhooking in the barn as Alan said. It seems like they would have an experienced person to hold the horse still from the head regardless of where they unhook.

  5. Since horses run a lot faster than humans, I would think that the horse would have been drowning before any person could get to the water to save him. It’s sickening how “well” they treat their horses though!!!!

  6. From the 8-18-21 article “Trotter saved from drowning in Northfield pond…”, this;

    “[from] Dave Bianconi, director of racing operations for MGM Northfield Park, ‘When [work on the track] is complete, we will have a barrier erected as a deterrent [to another horse entering the pond].’”

    And from the trainer of the 2-year-old trotter who spooked before the race, went into the infield pond and nearly drowned; “‘It might have been a nightmare, but we ended up with the best result. We just need to make sure this never happens again.’”

    Typical racing industry – all talk AFTER a horse is killed and another barely escapes the same fate – “safety measures this and safety measures that” – what a bunch of fools. Empty words and the horses pay the price. They always do.

    • The trainer is the biggest asshole in harness racing so no surprise. And they can’t even get the story right, it wasn’t a trotter.

  7. And, what clearer message from the horses … “get me out of this slavery”

    • Right on, Bonnie! Thoroughbred racehorses have drowned in the infield bodies of water in Florida; they don’t have their legs restricted by any kind of harness or anything. Obviously, they gallop so they don’t have their legs restricted as the Standardbred trotters and pacers do. I think the horses are so sensitive that they just can’t tolerate the abuse anymore, both mentally and physically.

  8. what was everyone doing?????looking up in the air????? how could a horse drown with all these people around.I would expect a FULLINVESTIGATION …OBVIOUSLY THE TRACK OFFICIALS ARE LACKING IN ANY EMERGENCY PREP. I AM APPALLED AND DISGUSTED BY THIS TRACK’S LACK OF ANY ACTION TO SAVE THIS HORSE!!!!!!!!!!

  9. I cannot even imagine the horror of watching this. Of course track personnel were not prepared for an incident like this and even if they were, chances of freeing the horse and pulling him from the water are slim to nil. A terrifying death but at least his suffering has ended. I’m basically a very compassionate, sensible person, but I can tell you that I wish nothing but miserable, haunting thoughts on everyone involved. Evil! Horse-racing is pure evil!

    • I seriously wonder if someone, or more than one person, thought it would be funny to let this horse, (a Two-year-old ?), loose on the track and I seriously wonder if they thought it was funny to watch him run into the water and drown. There are a lot of cruel things that sadistic people do to animals, including horses, that they think is funny.

      • No, they paid $50K for that colt (a lot for an Ohio bred) as a yearling last fall and he just finished second in an Ohio Sire Stake before he drowned. It was just a moron who unhitched the horse on the track. Baby was probably scared to death from the commotion.

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