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Comeback for Injured driver

January 08, 2007

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Randy Waples told harnessracing.com Monday afternoon that he expects to be back driving by the end of the month, returning to the sulky for the first time since being severely injured in a race accident at Mohawk last July, on the day before his 41st birthday.

The incident occurred July 30 when Waples was catapulted to the track after the horse he was driving was unable to avoid a horse falling directly in front of him. Fellow driver Keith Oliver suffered a broken shoulder in the incident while Jack Moiseyev received a laceration on a forearm. All the horses escaped without any serious injuries.

“It was a nasty little spill, that’s for sure,” said Waples, who has 4,257 career winners and $57.6 million in purse earnings. “It’s been a long process. I broke both wrists, both elbows, five bones in my left hand, had a pulled groin and a mild concussion. Everything has healed good; I just had to wait it out. I wanted to make sure that when I came back I was ready to come back.

Waples, whose arms were encased in casts from shoulders to wrists, said he began jogging horse for trainer Fred Hoffman Dec. 19, and that has been going to the barn everyday since. Because of an earlier promise, Waples said he plans on making his first drive back at Western Fair in London, Ont.

“My first start back will be at Western Fair somewhere around Jan. 28 or 29; I made a promise to (race announcer) Frank Salive that it would be there. All my commissions will go to the Chase McEachern fund. And then I’ll start back fresh at Woodbine.”

Chase was the 11-year-old son of an Ontario Racing Commission investigator who died last February after complications due to a heart condition. The McEachern Foundation raises money to have defibrillators more available in locations such as schools and hockey arenas.

Waples added he was able to find one benefit to spending the last six months at home recuperating.

“Usually I’m rushing around doing this and doing that,” he said. “I got to spend a lot of time with (wife) Angela and (daughter) Abigail, who turned eight at the end of November.”

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