Churchill Downs Racetrack, the renowned host of the prestigious Kentucky Derby, has been rocked by the deaths of four horses in the aftermath of the celebrated event. The unexpected loss of the equine athletes has raised concerns, with the racetrack deeming the deaths as “highly irregular” and “totally unacceptable.”
Churchill Downs released a public statement on Wednesday, stating that they recognize the severity of the issue and acknowledge that these unsettling events are concerning and need to be dealt with.
Four horses dying during a single Kentucky Derby Week in Louisville, Kentucky, have raised questions among owners, trainers, and animal welfare activists.
While racing-related injuries have resulted in thousands of horse deaths in the past decade, the recent deaths have been described as “alarming” and “highly unusual” by Churchill Downs Racetrack.
According to a statement from the track, two horses collapsed suddenly after completing races, while two others had to be euthanized due to irreparable injuries. The Triple Crown prize, which comes with a multi-million dollar prize, requires a horse to win all three races.
Churchill Downs Racetrack has confirmed that two horses owned by Ken Ramsey and trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. collapsed and died during the Kentucky Derby Week.
The horses, Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, passed away on the opening night and Tuesday, respectively. Joseph Jr. told a local newspaper that the sudden collapse of the horses was unexpected.
Two other horses suffered musculoskeletal injuries, which can result in severe pain and impair a horse’s basic functions, according to Professor Stephen B. Adams of Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Churchill Downs said it was “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,”
Churchill Downs statement.
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse races in the world, but it is also one of the most controversial. The event, which takes place annually in Louisville, Kentucky, has come under scrutiny in recent years due to concerns about the welfare of the horses that compete in the race.
In the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby, two horses suffered fatal injuries during training and a turf race, while two more were euthanized after sustaining musculoskeletal injuries during the main event.
Churchill Downs confirmed that Wild Ice and Take Charge Briana were both humanely euthanized after their injuries proved to be too severe for treatment. The horses will undergo full necropsies at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostics Lab, according to a statement from the racetrack.
Sadly, in the 2023 Kentucky Derby, several horses suffered serious injuries, and four of them had to be euthanized. This has sparked outrage and raised questions about the safety of the race and the treatment of the animals.
One of the horses, named Parents Pride, died on the opening night of the event, while Chasing Artie died a few days later. Both horses were owned by Ken Ramsey and trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., according to a statement from Churchill Downs Racetrack. Trainer Joseph Jr. told a local newspaper that the two horses seemed to collapse out of nowhere.
The other two horses, Wild Ice and Take Charge Briana, suffered musculoskeletal injuries during training and a turf race, respectively.