A scary scene delayed the start of Prince County’s most prestigious standardbred race late Saturday night.
As the pre-race introductions for the 51st running of the $25,000 Governor’s Plate, presented by Township Chevrolet Buick GMC and Noonan Petroleum, were taking place, the No. 3 horse, Burn Out Hanover, got clear of the bike during an altercation on the backstretch, unseated driver Gilles Barrieau and ran around the track multiple times at full speed, often cutting across the infield.
Veteran track announcer Vance Cameron immediately picked up on this and provided updates on the horse’s whereabouts for the other drivers on the track and warning fans along the fence to be careful of the out-of-control horse. The four-year-old bay gelding was eventually captured by the entrance to the track from the barns.
Barrieau was shaken up and attended to by first-aid personnel on the track. Cameron announced that Barrieau was up on his own and was being taken to Prince County Hospital for precautionary measures. Burn Out Hanover was scratched, leaving a seven-horse field.
After all this, the horses and drivers returned to the track to warm up again and the race, won by Rose Run Quest in 1:53, got underway near midnight.
“It’s scary and it can happen so easy,” said Rose Run Quest owner Blair Hansen of Charlottetown. “It’s probably a wonder it doesn’t happen more often.
“When you see a horse tearing around like that you are scared something is going to happen, he is going to put a bad step in and hurt himself. It was just a matter of time before he would get tired and stop, but up until then you never know.
“Hopefully, everything is all right with Gilles. I don’t know what the report is, but they said he walked off on his own.”
Marc Campbell, who drove Rose Run Quest, said he didn’t see what happened as he was going the other way at the time.
“I just heard a big smash,” said Campbell following the race. “I just hope Barrieau is OK and the horse is OK.”