The early morning freshness of a new day of thoroughbred racing that is the norm here at Woodbine Racetrack was shattered today after the tragic death of one of the racetrack’s exercise rider/outriders following a collision between horses.
Flags flew at half mast, and the eight-race card cancelled, after 43-year-old Darren Fortune succumbed to injuries suffered in the early morning incident on the track.
Fortune, original from Barbados, exercised horses in the morning for trainers, and in the afternoon racing schedule, guided horses and protected jockeys as they travelled to the starting gates.
When a jockey loses their mount, or if a horse is spooked and bolts, the outrider is there to sprint into action and corral the loose horse, as this one did a few years ago, below.
Racing is scheduled to return Saturday at the Toronto racetrack, with a ceremony honoring the fallen rider planned after the seventh race.