Horse Race Takes Bizarre Turn in the Home Stretch

River Crossroad Rvf held a commanding lead entering the home stretch
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2020 4:30 PM CDT
Horse Race Takes Bizarre Turn in the Home Stretch
A screen capture from the climactic moment.   (YouTube)

A race horse with a seven-length lead in the home stretch gave West Virginia fans quite the surprise Thursday night, NBC News reports. River Crossroad Rvf, a 3-year-old in only his second race, bolted off the track at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The colt left via a cutout where horses usually exit after morning races. "So best guess is that the horse just thought he was going back to his barn," said track Vice President Erich Zimny. "They certainly can be creatures of habit."

Track announcer Paul Espinosa Jr. posted a video on the track, saying he wanted to explain the "wildly run" race to "conspiracy theorists." Espinosa Jr. offered a few possible explanations, including the horse's youth, personality, and the altered position of the starting gate. Whatever the reason, River Crossroad Rvf had 9-5 odds and was second-favorite to win. Trainer Jeff Runco said the departure came as a surprise to him, too: "He's a great little horse with all kinds of energy," he told NBC News. "He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning like, 'So what happened last night?'" See the wild finish here. (Or read about champion race horses that died in a terrible crash.)

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