Bill Finley

Bill Finley has been covering both thoroughbred and standardbred racing for more than 25 years. He is a racing columnist for ESPN.com and can also be heard on the Down the Stretch show on Saturdays on Sirius XM radio.

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Monday, March 17, 2014


With Lawsuit Filed, Coletta Family Reveals Long-Term Prognosis is Grim


PHILADELPHIA–Speaking publicly for the first time, Anthony Coletta's father admitted that the long-term prognosis for his son is not good and said the chance of a full recovery is "less than one-half of one percent."

Coletta's parents, Fred and Rosemary, spoke briefly yesterday at a press conference to announce that the family has filed a lawsuit against Harrah's Philadelphia alleging that management refused to fix a track surface it knew was dangerous and their failure to act led to the Nov. 17 spill which left Coletta seriously injured.

The lawsuit details the long list of injuries Coletta suffered when his horse fell over another horse and the driver was catapulted from his sulky and thrown to the track.

"The most serious problem facing Coletta is, according to the lawsuit, "profound abnormalities indicative of severe and permanent brain damage." The lawsuit also stated that Coletta "will never return to his pre-injury condition."

Fred Coletta fought back tears when asked to update reporters on his son's condition.

"Anthony takes baby steps every day but they're moving in the right direction," he said. "He has a long way to go, but everything seems to be moving the way it is supposed to go. The prognosis from the very beginning was very bad.

"He's a very strong boy, a very strong kid and he fights every day. We hope that he gets better but the prognosis is not very good. They said with what he has he has a less than one half of one percent chance to fully recover."

Coletta said the entire family has tried to remain hopeful and will never give up on their son, who they say is an extraordinary fighter.

"Our son Anthony is in the race of his life and like with all his other races he is out to win," Coletta said. "He pays no attention to the odds and neither do we. Anthony is a winner in every way. Our family is by Anthony's bedside nearly every night and wants the racing world to know how grateful we are for the outpouring of thoughts and prayers for our son.

"We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

The suit was filed by Coletta's parents with a separate action taken on behalf solely of Fred Coletta, who was at Harrah's Philadelphia the day of the race and witnessed the spill firsthand. The suit claims that as a result of the shock of watching the accident Fred Coletta suffered insomnia, depression, crying spells, lost appetite, post-traumatic stress, aches, pains, nausea and other injuries.

Written by Bill Finley of Harness Racing Update

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