Pennsylvania Harness Driver Injured, Race Horse Put Down

Posted on: June 10, 2024, 08:43h. 

Last updated on: June 11, 2024, 09:07h.

A harness-racing driver was injured Saturday during a multicart accident at Pennsylvania’s Hollywood Casino at The Meadows.

Hollywood Casino at The Meadows
Hollywood Casino at The Meadows, pictured above. An accident at the track led to an injured driver. (Image: WTAE)

During a race, the second-place horse slowed down as it was running at the North Strabane Township, Pa. track, causing the wheels of two sulkies — the carts used in harness racing — to touch and lock up.

Driver Thrown on Track

Mike Wilder, one of the sulkie drivers, was thrown onto the track as a result of the collision, Pennsylvania TV station KDKA reported. Wilder lost consciousness from the impact and was flown to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment.

Details on his injuries weren’t revealed in news reports and he was released from the hospital on Monday.

“He is at home, resting and recovering,” Wilder’s wife, Heather, told KDKA. “We are taking it one day at a time and appreciate everyone’s concern and well wishes. We are blessed to work together with these amazing animals that we consider family.”

Horse Euthanized

A racehorse involved in the incident also suffered serious injuries and was euthanized as a result, according to KDKA. No other horses were injured.

Two other drivers involved in the accident were uninjured in the crash. They were identified as Hunter Myers and Dave Palone, according to KDKA. The two drivers were able to continue racing on Saturday.

A horse trainer at the harness track, Chuck Mull, called the accident “a very heartbreaking thing.”

Every horseman feels for each other when that has to happen. Especially, when it has to happen on a horse track like that. We’re all in this together, you know, you’re working with friends, [and] family,” Mull told KDKA.

The race track measures a five-eighths of a mile oval. Harness races are run over a mile so races begin on a backstretch and go through three turns, according to online information.

The harness-racing track and casino is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties and is operated by Penn Entertainment, formerly known as Penn National Gaming, the oldest gaming operator in the state. Penn took over the operation of The Meadows in 2018 through the company’s acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment.

More than three years later, Penn added its Hollywood identity to the gaming property. The name was changed from The Meadows Racetrack and Casino to Hollywood Casino at The Meadows.

The racetrack opened in 1963. The casino opened in 2007.

The complex is located some 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, Pa.