Harness racing mishap at Putnam County Fair leaves driver hospitalized

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Jun. 24—OTTAWA — An on-track mishap in the first of two cards of harness racing at the Putnam County Fair landed a driver in the hospital with unspecified injuries.

Brendan Johnson remained hospitalized following a three-horse accident that took place during the 11th race of the evening Tuesday night at the fair in Ottawa.

According to Renee Mancino, executive director of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, Johnson and drivers Pierce Henry and Cameron McCown were involved in the incident.

Vallcove, driven by Johnson, traveled slightly sideways entering the backstretch out of the turn and fell suddenly, causing the chain-reaction accident. Henry was examined at the hospital and released. McCown was examined at the track and drove in another race later in the evening.

"For as bad as the accident appeared, the prognosis for Brendan is cautiously optimistic, and we pray for a speedy recovery for Brendan," Mancino said.

The three horses involved in the accident escaped serious injury and were treated on-site for scrapes and contusions.

Putnam County Fair Director Nathan Meyer declined to comment about the incident. More harness racing was scheduled to resume Wednesday night at the fair starting at 5 p.m. in the grandstands.

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