The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs are excluding Joe Bongiorno from driving in races at any of those three tracks beginning Friday (June 25).
This action is being taken due to track management’s observation of Bongiorno’s driving over a lengthy period of time. Most recently, in the seventh race on Saturday, May 29, Bongiorno was driving the horse Pat Stanley N, who fell while in contention in the very late stages of the race and resulted in a three-horse accident where one of the horses suffered a catastrophic injury. Fortunately, the other two horses and all three drivers were able to walk away with minor injuries.
Careful study of the accident from a number of angles supports the opinion that Bongiorno has the style of driving the horse with very loose lines, and the belief that he was not in a position to react quickly enough to support the horse when he began to fall.
"Our concern for the safety of our drivers, including Joe, and horses is paramount," said Meadowlands CEO Jeff Gural. "It is our hope that Joe will learn from this near tragedy as he is a terrific up and coming young driver who should have a good future."
This exclusion will end on Wednesday, July 14, and he can be listed as the driver for the draw for races scheduled for July 16 and 17.