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Seven horses have died at Churchill Downs since April 27, and two of the deaths are still a mystery. Five of the deaths happened in the week leading up to the , and two more horses have been euthanized after suffering injuries in races just hours before post time.
“Transparency is an important component of our commitment to safety and accountability in horse racing. We share the concern of our fans who have questions about the recent equine fatalities at Churchill Downs Racetrack and we extend our sincere condolences to those who love and cared for these horses,” read a statement by the famous Louisville track.
The seven horses who’ve died at the track are:
Wild on Ice last got injured on Thursday while training on dirt, while Take Charge Briana got hurt while competing on a turf race on Tuesday. Per release, “both were ultimately euthanized for humane reasons” because the injuries they suffered were not something they would be able to recover from.
On Saturday, Code of Kings broke his neck after flipping several times in his saddling paddock. Code of Kings was rushed to a nearby equine clinic, where he was euthanized.
Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, died on Saturday and Thursday, respectively. Both collapsed and died after racing at Churchill Downs. They were owned by Ken Ramsey, trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. and had Luis Saez as their jockey. Joseph has since been suspended indefinitely by Churchill Downs, pending investigation, and Lord Miles, his entry into the Kentucky Derby, was .
During Race 2 on Saturday, just hours before the post time for the Kentucky Derby — Race 12 on the day, Chloe’s Dream pulled up while exiting the first turn and was vanned off the track. The three-year-old eventually had to be euthanized due to the injuries.
Freezing Point suffered an injury during the Pat Day Mile and had to be vanned off for further evaluation. According to the NBC Sports broadcast, Freezing Point had to be euthanized, making it the fifth horse to be euthanized at the track this week.
“While a series of events like this is highly unusual, it is completely unacceptable. We take this very seriously and acknowledge that these troubling incidents are alarming and must be addressed,” read the Churchill Downs statement.
“We feel a tremendous responsibility to our fans, the participants in our sport and the entire industry to be a leader in safety and continue to make significant investments to eliminate risk to our athletes. We have full confidence in our racing surfaces and have been assured by our riders and horsemen that they do as well.”
Parents Pride and Chasing Artie were transported to the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostics Lab for complete necropsies and there is an investigation taking place.
Joseph told USA Today that his team has been retracing steps and looking for answers. They tested the blood of all the horses in the barn, but nothing unusual came up.
“This is something that doesn’t happen,” the trainer told USA Today. “I’m shattered, basically, because I know it can’t happen. The odds of it happening twice is in the trillions. I run almost 4,000 horses and it never happened. It doesn’t make sense.”
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