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Third horse dies at Stampede chuckwagon races; driver fined, suspended

A chuckwagon race is seen during Calgary Stampede in Calgary, on July 13, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY — A driver has been suspended and fined after a collision during a Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race that resulted in the death of a third horse during this week’s Rangeland Derby.

Stampede officials say in a statement that the accident happened Thursday evening in seventh heat.

They say driver Chad Harden impeded another driver’s chuckwagon and caused a third rig to collide with the track’s inner rail, resulting in severe injuries to a horse.

The three other horses on the third wagon had minor injuries.

An independent chuckwagon safety commission has ruled that Harden should be fined $10,000 and disqualified from the remainder of this year’s racing, which means he will not be invited to compete in future events.

The Stampede says it has a zero tolerance policy for preventable accidents and injuries, and that the care and safety of the animals that compete is its highest priority.

On Wednesday, a horse was euthanized after breaking a leg during a race, while another animal collapsed and died Monday due to what the Stampede called a medical condition.

Both the Calgary and Vancouver humane societies have expressed strong criticism of the chuckwagon races.

The Canadian Press