Churchill Downs: Four Kills in Four Days

“Broke Down,” of course, is the racing industry’s euphemism of choice for dead. But Churchill Downs, apparently hoping no one would notice, prefers the even more euphemistic (and downright nebulous) “went wrong.” Beginning last Thursday, four horses “went wrong” there over four consecutive days. All four are dead.

Sep 20: “RICOCHET BAY went wrong in the turn then was pulled up and vanned off.”
Sep 21: “CONQUEST HIOSILVER went wrong midway through the turn and lost rider.”
Sep 22: “MEDLIN went wrong near the quarter pole, lost rider and was vanned off.”
Sep 23: “LILT…went wrong and was pulled up and vanned off after the race.”

As you might imagine, this latest spate has caused quite a bit of consternation in Kentucky Racing circles. Dr. Mary Scollay, medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, to the Daily Racing Form:

“It is clearly an unacceptable rate of occurrence. We’re accumulating evidence right now and looking at it very hard.” The article went on: “Scollay said that racing regulators continue to conduct aggressive pre-race examinations, and that Dr. Mick Peterson, a professor at the University of Kentucky who is an expert on racing surfaces, has surveyed the Churchill Downs racetrack.”

Sound familiar? It should, for this is every official’s perfunctory response when clusters occur (which is to say, quite often, except the media only covers the ones that occur at elite tracks and glitzy meets like Churchill or Saratoga). As the powers that be scramble, Lilt’s trainer, Brendan Walsh, sums it thus: “Who knows? It’s very hard to assess stuff like this. Unfortunately these things happen, and they happen everywhere.” Yes, how “unfortunate” that horses must be enslaved, exploited, abused, beaten, and regularly killed for – gambling. Wake up, America.


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  1. Each of these deaths enrages me. If I had the power and means there would be a big pile of guilty lying on those race tracks and it wouldn’t be horses. Post to social media! Call “elected ” officials!

  2. Grew up in this industry in the 60’s, worked in every single capacity in the stable area, trained/owned for years, and ZIPPO has changed
    During these 40+ years I’ve heard every single useless excuse, lip service, investigations, but racehorses are still dying – that will never change
    The slaughterhouse is their disposal system and that will never change, in fact, it’s increasing because the economics of keeping horses especially after they are done maiming them.
    It’s time to get rid of their mangled profit slave, if they make it out alive, and off to the kill auction they go.
    The responsibility of their profit slaves are never their own of course, but they leave it up to everybody else to clean up their unwanted racehorse mess while they boast about billions in sales and wagering profits.
    Churchill Downs has spent millions in the last 10 years all on VIP renovations and increased seating while the racehorses are imprisoned in their 10 x 10 stalls with little to no stimulation in that disgusting, and shameful stable area.
    Hell, they don’t even have shower racks and most stand on the concrete pavement, slippery as hell, trying to get a bath from their drug infested sweat after being beaten to perform.
    Most all racetracks in this country do little to nothing to make their life better to improve their conditions while they collect billions in wagering profits, tax breaks, and corporate welfare.
    Multiple drug violating trainers with a trail of dead racehorses are revered in this business, given carte blanche to continue their macabre, drug infested, masochistic training methods on their profit slaves with the owners endorsing it every step of the way because they pay for it.
    Racehorses being literally run into the ground, all of them count, but when I see those warriors, the ones who made over $100,000 for their people, who ran their ass off for them only to be dumped in the claiming ranks rendering them to a life of continued drug abuse to mask their chronic injuries that those owners are well aware of.
    No doping/vet records are released to the public while this total sham continues.
    Florida wants out of horse racing and as soon as they do it the Florida HBPA has launched a lawsuit.
    This lawsuit is going to cost millions so they have no problem finding the money to continue this abuse, but they can’t cough up $200 to save a horse at a kill auction – VILE blood sucking leeches every single one of them.
    Of course people like Frank Stronach and the owner of Tampa Bay Downs – both of them endorsing this massive pain and suffering ensured, through “political” donations, that their tracks would remain untouched.
    FORBADE was bred by the racehorse abusers “Ramseys” whose has spent billions breeding, abusing, and dumping racehorses.
    From the poor to the rich owners, from the high level stake runners to the claimers, to every single person that pimps off of these racehorses – ROT IN HELL you are dirty low life blood sucking leeches.

  3. I noticed on Churchill downs twitter that the 23rd was “Family Adventure Day”. I can only hope that those little children didn’t witness the death of Lilt. Though maybe if they had, and the parents realized their children saw that poor horse struggling on a broken leg, it would encourage the parents to think twice before they expose their children to the sad realities of the track and what it does to the horses.

  4. Yes, Mr. Brendan Walsh it is very hard to assess this “stuff” and yes Mr. Walsh, these “things” happen and happen everywhere. Unfortunately for you and your deceitful, cruel and drug infested business people are beginning to wakeup and understand how dark your business really is. The lies are being exposed and will continue to be. No longer will racing be able to hide behind the façade of the Kentucky Derby and all the other high profile races and money making horses while the vast majority of horses, the “low level claimers”, suffer and die in anonymity.

    Racing does not want the public to understand how the game really works. They do not want people to know about the so called “cheap” horses some with earnings of around 400,000 to even $500,000, before they begin to fade and are dumped into to downward spiral of the claiming ranks. These horses run for their lives at least every 2 weeks at lesser known tracks ALL year long. Racing does not want people to know that when these horses can no longer hold up because of such brutal schedules they are slaughtered.

  5. This is very sad indeed. But horse racing started a very long time ago . And it is a global business and a problem. With horse deaths.. I don’t like it as much as the next person I rescued horses and the TB that end up in a auction yard . If only the owners would realize that instead of saling them to a auction yard where they are bought by kill buyers for slaughter and human consumption, (yes horses meat is being mix in with grownround beef ) the owners could fine a forever home for them or just keep them. To many people are in the horses racing business and that’s there lively Hood and there’s no way of stopping it……………………………………Wild Freedom Federation

  6. After years of being subjected to the false grandiose pro-horse racing rhetoric that repeatedly boasts about record profits that are not neutrally confirmed;this business intentionally does this as a tactic, its seems, to placate the politicians and waste more precious taxpayers dollars in one form or another.
    Here in Toronto, Canada Woodbine Racetrack, in conjunction with the HBPA, has literally held our government and our taxpaying/casino profits hostage.
    When is there going to be just one politician stand up to this total waste of money and racehorse lives and say “enough is enough, you want your horse racing then pay for it yourselves.”
    We know that paying for it themselves is not doable because this industry has not been financially sustainable for years, and it’s in precipitous decline.
    For example, at least 5 major stake races at Woodbine had a total of 4 entries for a $150,000 purse.
    This is insanity!
    That would be like having a lottery for $150,000 and selling only 4 tickets – there would be public outrage in this province should that happen, but this vile industry gets away with this – outrageous waste of money.
    So they have to promote a false narrative that nobody can verify.
    This industry has been perpetrating lies on the unsuspecting public for years.
    By the way, people commented on an article re: the dead racehorses at Churchill Downs and every single one of them prompted people to go to this website.
    Most all said that they would never attend a horse race again.
    Making progress albeit slow, and not quick enough for the racehorses who are suffering daily.

  7. I am sickened about the vicious treatment of these beautiful horses.Horse racing should be banned.
    The whipping of these horses is such cruelty. The jockeys should have to endure the same whipping as their mounts. Why is this allowed?

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