In its official response to the current catastrophe – five kills in six days – Churchill Downs, claimed, among other derisible things, that “transparency is an important component of our commitment to safety and accountability in horse racing.” Okay, here are the chart notes for the three racing deaths Saturday and Tuesday:
“Parents Pride went wrong between horses at the 5/16 pole, was pulled up in upper stretch, and got vanned off.” In fact, Parents Pride had collapsed and died in the middle of the race – i.e., the “van” was hauling a lifeless body.
“Take Charge Briana sustained an injury in upper stretch, fell, and was vanned off.” In fact, Take Charge Briana was euthanized where she lay – no ambulance necessary.
“Chasing Artie was outrun, and got vanned off.” In fact, Chasing Artie, like his stablemate PP, collapsed and died, this time immediately following the race.
In the nine years I’ve been scouring race charts, I cannot recall a single instance of a death being noted (explicitly) at Churchill Downs. Not one. In fact, I can’t think of one at any Kentucky track – and we’re talking about hundreds over this period. They use phrases like “went wrong,” “in distress,” and “vanned off,” but they’ll admit a euthanasia over the horses’ dead bodies. “Transparency, accountability” – a bad joke.