Racehorse Escapes To Expressway At Ellis Park

An unraced 2-year-old filly came out of her misadventures relatively unscathed after getting loose before Saturday’s first race at Ellis Park and running onto the highway and interstate before being apprehended.

The filly Bold and Bossy, who had shipped into Ellis Park from owner-trainer Michael Ann Ewing’s Lexington base, got loose in the post parade and unseated jockey Miguel Mena. Bold and Bossy ran off the track and made it over the levee before heading out to U.S. 41N, briefly onto Interstate 69 and then Veterans Memorial Parkway. Among the horsemen following her in their vehicles were trainers Wes Hawley and Jack Hancock, who led in her apprehension.

Bold and Bossy was returned to Ellis Park’s barn area via the horse ambulance.

“This scenario is the last thing you think of when they go to their first race, a 2-year-old baby race,” Ewing, who was not at the race, said from Lexington. “You think of all the silly baby things that are going to go wrong. I didn’t think this. But she’s doing well. Thank God for all the people who jumped in to go find her. Because she left town.

“Thank God she wasn’t hit… For all that, and she ran a long way, she was just missing a couple of shoes. She did ‘grab a quarter’ (where a hind hoof knocks some flesh off the heel of a front foot), but it’s not bad. Most severely, she was ‘tying up’ (cramping) when they caught her, and she’s really dehydrated.”

Ewing said the state veterinarian, who arrived with the horse ambulance, immediately started treating the filly. Bold and Bossy received fluids and additional treatment back at the barn, she said.

“She’s not lame. No (broken) bones or stitches needed,” she said. “Probably traumatized mentally, but she’s going to be fine. We’ll have our own vets check her out and monitor her, and after a few days to make sure everything is good I’ll probably give her some time on the farm. But thank God she’s fine.”

Ewing said she’s grateful to the track, veterinarian staff and everyone who assisted, with special praise for Hawley and Hancock.

“Wes and Jack said basically she was worn out and was begging for someone to catch her,” she said. “She was slowing down and saying, ‘help me.’ Which they did. They were so great. I do have to say, the racing community is so great.”

Ellis Park racing secretary Dan Bork, who arrived on the scene shortly after the filly was caught, estimated Bold and Bossy made it a couple of miles or more before being stopped.

Here is Hancock’s account:

“She came by my barn (overlooking the far turn) headed down the backside,” he said. “Then she jumped the rail and got off in the barn area. She was a ship-in, so she didn’t know where to go home.… She went through the barn area, on the levee behind the kitchen. We tried to catch her here (on the backstretch), missed her and then she headed down the levee toward the highway.

“So we jumped in the vehicles and started chasing her then. She went out on the highway. She went on 41 and then she took an exit when up I-69 on the bypass, came back on Veterans Memorial Parkway, headed back toward Waterworks Road. So we went down 69 to the quickest place we could turn around, and headed in behind her. All the time we’re hoping she didn’t get hit by a car. Along the way she ended up on the other side of the highway from where we were. A gentleman and his wife caught her. When we got to her, we took the tack off. I had a lead shank with me and put the shank on her. We checked her out pretty good while we were there. Superficial cuts, a little bit of blood. But all in all, she was in great shape for what happened.”

Hancock said she was stopped on Veterans Memorial “pretty close to Waterworks Road, where the new treatment plant is being built.”

He said local police and sheriff’s department came to assist, with one police officer having a gallon of water. Hancock said they gave the filly water out of their hands and put water on her head and back. He said animal control also showed up.

“We just kept her moving (to keep the cramping from getting worse) until the horse ambulance got there,” Hancock said. “Amazing she didn’t get hurt. All she lost was two shoes and had a little scratch here and there. As far as I’m concerned, she’s in amazing shape.”

Hancock said wearing blinkers probably hampered stopping the filly. “She couldn’t see anything beside her, so that made it a little worse trying to catch her,” he said. “…. I’ve been here all my life and I’ve never seen one to do a run like this, not that far and not that much highway. They usually don’t go over the levee.”

Hawley said he was driving into the backstretch when he saw the loose horse and followed. Hawley said he took the blinkers off the horse when he got to her.

“I just did what anybody else would have done under the circumstances,” he said. “I mean, that’s all I could do.”

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