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Three Harness Drivers Injured

May 28, 1999

FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) _ Catello Manzi, who has driven more than 8,000 winners in a 30-year career, was hospitalized with head and back injuries after being hurt in a spill Thursday at Freehold Raceway.

Manzi, 48, was catapulted from his sulky and apparently kicked in the head by one of the three horses involved the spill during the first race, said track spokesman Bill Fidati.

Manzi lay on the track for about 25 minutes before being taken to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, Fidati said, adding that the driver did not lose consciousness.

A nursing supervisor at the hospital said that Manzi was in stable condition and that he would be held overnight for observation.

Drivers John Sheehan and Jeff Gregory also were injured.

Gregory was treated for possible back and leg injuries at CentraState Medial Center in Freehold and released, said hospital spokeswoman Ronda Cluff.

Sheehan was treated for possible back injuries at Jersey Shore Medical Center and released, said hospital spokeswoman Joni Schultz.

The accident happened when Y F Illusion, driven by Sheehan, fell while racing on the lead, Fidati said.

Manzi was racing right behind the leader with Crown Can. He was ejected from his sulky after Crown Can plowed into Y F Illusion. Gregory and Justatrotter then hit the pile.

Gregory and Sheehan were both thrown from their sulkies. Crown Can and Justatrotter stayed on their feet.

Fidati said one of the horses then kicked Manzi as he lay on the track. The Freehold resident was not able to get on his feet before he was removed from the track, the spokesman said.

Manzi is the leading driver at the current Freehold meet with more than 100 victories.

None of the horses was seriously injured.

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