Churchill Downs has announced that it intends to investigate a string of horse deaths that have overshadowed the build-up to the Kentucky Derby.
Four horses have died at Churchill Downs Racetrack, the home of the Kentucky Derby, in just five days since last weekend. One of those fatalities was Derby entrant Wild On Ice, who died along with another horse as a result of racing or training. The other two horses, who were being trained by Saffie Joseph Jr, collapsed and died on track.
it is completely unacceptable”
Churchill Downs released a comment on Wednesday to address the deaths and make clear that it intends to investigate the matter. “While a series of events like this is highly unusual, it is completely unacceptable,” the statement read. “We take this very seriously and acknowledge that these troubling incidents are alarming and must be addressed.”
Joseph has since been suspended by Churchill Downs, meaning his other horse, Lord Miles, will not race in the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. “We have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses,” said Bill Mudd, Churchill Downs president and chief operating officer.
Although there are no cause of death details for Joseph’s two horses, according to the Associated Press, the different manner in which the four horses died suggests that the racing surface is not to blame. Joseph’s horses, Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, collapsed after races. Meanwhile, both Wild On Ice and Take Charge Briana were euthanized as a result of musculoskeletal injuries.