02/17/2011 6:12PM

Overheated horse cools off in Tampa infield lake


OLDSMAR, Fla. - In one of the more bizarre episodes in the history of Tampa Bay Downs, a 4-year-old Point Given gelding named Shipping News, a starter in a 1 3/8-mile maiden turf race Thursday, wound up splashing about in the infield lake following a series of events that began with the horse being pulled up after seven furlongs of the marathon race.

After brushing the inner rail and being pulled up, Shipping News collapsed on the turf course, apparently from heat exhaustion. After being hosed down and treated by track veterinarians, Shipping News regained his feet and appeared on the road to recovery. Unfortunately his bridle had come off and the newly revived Shipping News pulled away from his handlers and crashed through the inner turf rail. He then wheeled and crashed through the rail again returning to the turf course before promptly wheeling back to the inside and crashing through the inner rail for a third time.

At this point Shipping News jogged to Tampa Bay Downs infield lake and jumped in, where he waded around in water up to his chest for a time.

Eventually several members of the gate crew removed their trousers, waded into the lake, put a halter on Shipping News, and with help of others standing on shore, were able to coax Shipping News to climb out of the lake, where he was treated for some leg scrapes and vanned off by horse ambulance.

Post time for the eighth race was delayed approximately 25 minutes by the incident.