Photo courtesy: Laurel Park Race Track. Bullet Catcher, a 4-year-old gelding, got loose and ran a mile and a half down Route 1 in Laurel Md., Friday morning.
by Staff reports, USA TODAY
Those traveling on U.S. Route 1 in Laurel, Md., Friday morning might have thought their eyes were deceiving them.
It was no joke. There was a Thoroughbred heading south on the road, galloping about 30 miles per hour -- without a rider.
Bullet Catcher, a 4-year-old gelding, had tossed jockey Jeremy Rose while heading back to the barn at Laurel Park Race Track after a morning workout and got loose.
The horse made his way out of the stable gate, then got to Route 1 where he made a left turn. He was finally caught a mile and a half later -- uninjured. Bullet Catcher's unplanned journey took him through parts of three counties -- Anne Arundel, Howard and Prince George's.
"You think you've seen it all," said former rider Mark Rosenthal, who co-owns the gelding with Jerry Robb.
Jockey Abel Castellano captured part of the adventure on his mobile phone.
"I had finished working a horse and was coming to the jocks room when I saw a horse run by heading out of the stable gate," Castellano said. "I decided to follow the horse and maybe when he stopped I could catch him. All of a sudden we got to Route 1 and there was a red light. 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.
"I went, 'oh, we're so lucky so far'. Then we got the point where the road splits, you go right so that horse he keeps to the right, so we follow him. The horse is still running 30 miles an hour. Finally he slowed down in front of the Chrysler dealership almost to Main Street and we were able to catch him. The story had a happy ending but it was scary."
Trainer Charles "Snake" Frock was also part of the group that caught the Maryland-bred, who has one win and three on the board finishes in six lifetime starts.
"I have never seen anything like it and I have been at the racetrack for more than 50 years," Frock said. "I was coming from the farm in Westminster and saw him on Whiskey Bottom Road and did a U-turn to try to help. My trailer was full with hay and I had another horse in the van. When we finally caught him we were able to bring him back to the track in my van. I told Robb later, 'it's unreal the horse galloped out the gate and all the way to Main Street on the blacktop and never shredded a shoe.' God was on his side."
Robb said Bullet Catcher had some abrasions on his feet but wouldn't know the full extent of any injuries for a few days.
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