Family says injured horseman in ‘race of his life’

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (AP) –The family of a driver who suffered catastrophic injuries in a harness-racing crash outside Philadelphia said Friday he’s in “the race of his life” and expressed gratitude for the support shown by his colleagues in the racing industry.

Anthony Coletta, 31, of Hudson City, N.J., was thrown from his cart and trampled during a November race at Harrah’s Philadelphia in the city of Chester. He has undergone several surgeries and remains incapacitated with brain damage and other injuries at a New Jersey rehabilitation hospital.

Horsemen’s associations and tracks from around the country and Canada have been holding benefits for Coletta, who is conscious and able to breathe on his own.

“Anthony is in the race of his life and it is a race he is – like all of his races – out to win,” said a statement released by Coletta’s family Friday.

State regulators have suspended harness racing at the track, saying Harrah’s failed to resolve problems with the surface. Drivers have complained about the track’s condition.

Lawyers and experts working on behalf of Coletta and his parents, Alfred and Rosemary Coletta, inspected the track Thursday to gather evidence for a lawsuit against Harrah’s, a spokesman said.

“We want the racing world to know how grateful we are for your thoughts and prayers,” the family’s statement said. “And we are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for our son from across the U.S., Canada and as far away as New Zealand. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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