A statement from Churchill Downs today follows. While reading, bear in mind that two more horses – That Khenny, Loot the Moon – were “vanned off” this afternoon. So the disaster may have already gotten worse.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, May 3, 2023) – 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.
Since Opening Night of Kentucky Derby Week, two horses trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. have died suddenly of cause yet to be identified: Parents Pride on Saturday and Chasing Artie on Tuesday. Two other horses sustained musculoskeletal injuries from which they could not recover: Wild on Ice last Thursday while training on dirt and Take Charge Briana during a turf race on Tuesday. Wild on Ice was transported to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital for care, but both were ultimately euthanized for humane reasons.
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. 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.
Each horse was transported to the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostics Lab for complete necropsies. We continue to press for answers and are working with regulators to conduct swift and thorough investigations.
The safety and well-being of horses is a critical issue for which everyone in the industry shares responsibility; however, we will continue to take every measure to ensure that we are providing the safest possible environment for horses on our property.
This, folks, is what full panic mode looks like. While I could have a lot of fun with the entire statement, allow me to address the worst of it: “While a series of events like this is highly unusual, it is completely unacceptable. We feel a tremendous responsibility…to be a leader in safety and continue to make significant investments to eliminate risk to our athletes [athletes?].” Okay, here goes…
Confirmed (surely there were more that slipped through recordkeeping cracks) kills at Churchill Downs over the past five years:
That’s an average of 25 dead horses annually. “Highly unusual”? “Leader in safety”? Please. Horseracing kills. Always has. Always will (that is, of course, until we end it).