Deweycheatumnhowe, one of the winningest horses in harness racing, also might be one of the luckiest.
"Dewey," on his way to Lexington's Walnut Hall Farm on Wednesday, escaped injury in an accident in Pennsylvania, according to syndicate manager Alan Leavitt.
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The Hambletonian winner was being transported by his trainer and driver, Ray Schnittker, and Schnittker's wife, Dr. Janet Durso. Schnittker was unhurt, but Durso, who was in the back seat, has a separated shoulder. "Ray thought it would be safest just to bring him himself," said Leavitt, who is president of Walnut Hall Ltd.
Leavitt said Schnittker and Durso were bringing the champion trotter from their farm in Goshen, N.Y., when the truck hit a patch of black ice on Route 80 near Jersey Shore, Pa., at about 10 a.m.
"The car in front braked suddenly," Leavitt said, so Schnittker braked and the truck skidded into a ditch. The truck was totaled, he said. Dewey was the only horse in the trailer.
"Even though (Durso) was in pretty serious pain, her first thought was for Dewey," Leavitt said. After she gave him a thorough examination and realized he was OK, she went in an ambulance to a local hospital, he said.
Leavitt said Dewey was taken in another trailer to the Gettysburg farm of one of his co-owners, veterinarian Dr. John Egloff. "He checked him out and said he's fine," Leavitt said. "It's a miracle."
He said Schnittker plans to resume the trip on Thursday. Dewey is retiring to stud at Walnut Hall after winning 22 of his 25 races; he never finished out of the money. He won nearly $3.16 million and will stand for $25,000.