A horse at Laurel Park race track decided he needed a vacation Friday morning when he escaped after a morning workout and led trainers and jockeys on a 1.6 mile chase down U.S. Route 1 in Laurel.
According to a statement by the Maryland Jockey Club, around 9 a.m., Bullet Catcher, a four-year-old gelding, tossed jockey Jeremy Rose when returning to his barn after his workout, and made a break for it, running down Whiskey Bottom Road before hanging a left at U.S. Route 1.
After a 30 mile-per-hour chase, a group of jockeys and horse trainers from the track eventually caught up to the fugitive race horse as it approached the intersection between U.S. Route 1 and Main Street in Laurel. Officials said in a statement that the horse was unharmed, save for some abrasions on his feet.
Jockey Abel Castellano was among those in pursuit of Bullet Catcher and took a cell phone video of the chase.
“[We went down Whiskey Bottom Road] and all of a sudden we got to Route 1 and there was a red light,” Castellano said. “I saw the cars driving by and I said, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to have an accident.’ But at that moment, it changed to a green light to make a left and the horse just made a left.”
Charles “Snake” Frock, a trainer at Laurel Park, said in a statement that he had never seen such a daring escape in his more than 50 years at the track.
“It’s unreal. The horse galloped out the gate and all the way to Main Street on the blacktop and never shredded a shoe,” Frock said. “God was on his side.”
Laurel Park spokesman Mike Gathagan said the track will not need to make any repairs to its stable or gates, as the horse didn’t crash into anything during his escape.