Horse drops dead during race at Charlottetown Driving Park

Northern Zoom paces strong in the second race but drops to track at the top of the home stretch

Nigel Armstrong
Published on September 4, 2014

The horses go by the historic judges stand at the CDP Saturday. The crowds were sparce, but are expected to pick up as the Old Home Week Progresses.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

A horse fell dead on the track as it rounded into the home stretch at the Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park Thursday.

Northern Zoom, or Zoom as he was known, was in the two-hole coming off the final turn in race 2 of the evening card when he dropped dead.

Ken Murphy was in the bike for owner Margaret Younker who was leaning on the fence watching in horror as events unfolded right in front of her.

"He was strong coming around, not a problem, but he just went down, boom," said Younker. "He was perfectly fine until he hit that turn."

She lives right next door to trainer Clifford Murphy of Brackley who was with her in the track barn after the death. A sense of mourning prevailed

"I raised him,” said Younker. "I have had horses for 30 some years."

The suspicion is that a heart attack took the horse's life.

"He looked like he was going to win the whole thing," said Murphy.

Zoom wore the usual tongue tie used during a race to prevent accidental airway blockage, said Younker.

"He was well trained, he was well exercised, he was well fed, and we don't use any drugs in this barn so we are not worried about any interference that way," she said.

The horse was covered and removed by trailer to the Atlantic Veterinary Collage for a postmortem examination, or necropsy.

Murphy said he cannot remember the last time a horse died during a race. It has never happened to his horses before.

"Everybody did the right thing and everything was looked after and hopefully we will find out what happened," said Murphy.

Officials with Red Shores said they were not able to comment and media inquires are to be directed to Atlantic Lottery headquarters in Moncton. It will not be fully briefed on the incident until later tonight, The Guardian was told.