Douglas Files Suit Over 2009 Accident

Second suit filed this week over Polytrack surface at Arlington Park

Former jockey Rene Douglas, who was paralyzed in an accident at Arlington Park on May 23, 2009, has sued the racetrack and other parties in connection with the incident, according to the Daily Herald in Chicago, Ill.

The newspaper reported that the lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Douglas and his wife, Natalia. The suit, seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, names Arlington Park, its parent Churchill Downs Inc., Martin Collins Surfaces and Footings and Keeneland Association. Martin Collins manufactured the artificial Polytrack surface in use at Arlington Park.

According to the suit, the track surface was "uneven" and "filled with ruts" and contributed the accident, the Daily Herald reported. The suit alleged negligence in installation and maintenance of the Polytrack, according to the newspaper.

Douglas was injured when his mount, Born to Be, was clipped by another horse in the race, Sky Mom, during the race. Jockey Jamie Theriot, who rode Sky Mom, was suspended 30 days by stewards but is not named in the lawsuit.

The Daily Herald reported that a similar suit was filed against the same parties on May 11 by Edward Seely over an accident in May 2008. According to that suit, Seely, who exercised horses and assisted in training horses at Arlington Park, also contends the track surface was "uneven" and "filled with ruts," according to the newspaper.