ABOVE: Catherine McDonald reports from Woodbine racetrack, where investigators are trying to determine what caused the death of both a horse and it’s male trainer
TORONTO – An exercise rider has died after a horse fell on top of him at Woodbine racetrack in northwest Toronto early Tuesday morning.
Peel EMS say the victim, identified to Global News as Mourad Boudraa, 40, suffered critical head injuries and could not be revived at the scene. Boudraa had worked at Woodbine for more than four years and was married with one child.
The incident happened around 6 a.m. when police say the horse went into an “unexplained wild gallop” and crushed the trainer into a railing as it collapsed.
Jamie Martin, vice-president of Woodbine Entertainment Group said Boudraa was from Morocco and worked as a freelance exercise rider for a number of trainers at the racetrack.
“I would say it’s a freak accident,” he said.
Police say the horse suffered a heart attack and also died but that has not yet been confirmed by a necropsy.
“It’s like when you find those athletes that suddenly die and you find there’s a heart defect, that would be the human equivalency,” Mike Pownall, an equine veterinarian said. “You have no idea it was existing, or you could prevent it, or you could do anything to alter the course.”
WATCH: Woodbine racetrack trainers stunned by freak accident that killed fellow trainer
Shawn St. Pierre, a rider at Woodbine Race track said it’s not uncommon for a horse to have a heart attack, comparing it to a person with an undiagnosed heart condition.
The horse, Tawney’s Wish, was a three-year-old dark filly with one start this year and $368 in winnings.
The Ministry of Labour has been called in to investigate.