Vet Mason to Receive 2013 White Horse Award

Doctor, 78, was severely injured securing gap gate at Emerald Downs from loose horse.

Dr. Michael Mason will receive the 2013 White Horse Award for his effort to protect a loose horse and others at Emerald Downs, the Race Track Chaplaincy of America announced Sept. 27.

The award, which was started in 2003, is given annually to a person in any facet of horse racing who is judged to have performed the most heroic act on behalf of human or horse. It is presented at a luncheon held in conjunction with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

On the morning of June 27, 2013, the veterinarian Mason, who is 78, heard the call on his radio that a rider was thrown from his horse and that the horse was loose on the track. Being in close vicinity to the gap gate, he realized that it was not closed. At great risk for his own safety, Mason rushed to secure the gate before the horse could escape to the backside and potentially injure itself or others. 

The horse, however, plowed into the gap gate, throwing Mason back and rendering him unconscious. He was evacuated to a trauma center where he remained in a coma for five days. After awakening from his coma, he spent nearly six weeks in the hospital undergoing rehabilitation.

Mason is continuing his recovery at home and making plans to attend the White Horse Award Luncheon Oct. 31. It will take place at the Derby Restaurant in Arcadia, Calif., close to Santa Anita Park. Mason told RTCA that he has no regrets and felt he did what was needed to save lives.

In addition to the White Horse Award, a Community Service Award and Tribute of Excellence Award will be presented. For additional information or to register for the event, click here.