Lloyd Debruycker has owned racehorses for over 25 years. During that time he has seen just about everything on the track – that is, until Aug. 17 at Prairie Meadows.
On that day, Debruycker’s 4-year-old gelding, Marin County, was making her second start in Iowa, for maiden special weights going a mile on the main track. The fourth race began like any other, with the field of nine breaking evenly, but as they approached the clubhouse turn, something strange happened: A small fox streaked across the track, directly into Marin County’s path.
At first it was unclear what exactly happened, since Marin County continued on without hesitation. But after viewing replays, it was determined that Marin County did indeed collide with the fox. That was confirmed in the official race chart, which read, “vied for the lead between rivals, stepped on a fox on the first turn.”
“I’ve seen geese on the track a few times, but that’s about it,” said Debruycker, who lives in Montana and did not get to see the race live. “My trainer (Ray Tracy) called me right after the race and said, ‘you are not going to believe this but our horse just stepped on a fox.’ We had a good laugh about it.”
Marin County was not injured during the quirky event, and in fact, took the lead into the stretch before tiring to finish fifth. The son of Swiss Yodeler is now 0-for-6 lifetime.
“Well, he was in California with John Sadler, but we decided to bring him out to Prairie Meadows last month,” said Debruycker, who owned Musique Toujours, a 70-1 upset winner of the 2005 Sunshine Millions Classic. “We think he’ll have a better chance out there.”
Prairie Meadows is happy to report that the fox did survive the collision.