03/11/2011 7:55PM

Oaklawn assistant starter injured at gate


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - An assistant starter at Oaklawn Park sustained a head injury while attempting to load a horse for the start of Friday's eighth race. He was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph's Mercy Health Center in Hot Springs, Ark., according to Rolly Hoyt, a spokesman for Oaklawn. He was listed in stable condition Friday evening.

Hoyt said that the assistant starter, Ben Ewing, was momentarily unconscious after being injured, but regained consciousness before being loaded into the ambulance. Ewing, 55, is the father of Oaklawn outrider Chisum Ewing.

Hoyt said Ben Ewing was injured in the course of trying to load the number 2 horse, Mysterious Chimes. He said it is not yet known exactly how he sustained the head injury. The horses were returned to the paddock while medical teams tended to Ewing.

There was about a 20-minute delay of the eighth race. The horses reloaded and the odds-on favorite, Honey Bunch, who broke from the rail, ducked in at the start and lost her rider, Cliff Berry. Berry did not appear to sustain serious injuries in the incident.

The six-furlong race was won by Missippi Martini, who paid $37.40.