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Churchill Downs moves races following multiple horse deaths

  • Churchill Downs will officially move its spring meet to Ellis Park on June 10
  • The decision comes in the wake of 12 horse deaths at the track
  • The move is to ensure that the track itself isn’t causing the injuries

(NewsNation) — The famous Louisville, Kentucky, horse racing complex Churchill Downs, home to the annual Kentucky Derby, will officially move the remainder of its spring meet to Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky, starting on June 10, according to track officials.

The decision comes in the wake of 12 horse deaths at the venue since April.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission are investigating the horse deaths at the track.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority called an emergency summit earlier in the week to discuss potential interventions and announced additional safety measures going forward at the Louisville track.

Churchill Downs also implemented several new safety measures that include no longer incentivizing trainers and horse owners just for starting or finishing a race, limiting purse payouts to the top five finishers instead of every finisher, and also restricting the number of races in which each horse may participate.

“Despite our best efforts to identify a cause for the recent horse injuries, and though no issues have been linked to our racing surfaces or environment at Churchill Downs,” said Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen in a statement. “We need to take more time to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all of the details and circumstances so that we can further strengthen our surface, safety and integrity protocols.”

Five horses died from injuries at Churchill Downs in the lead-up to the Kentucky Derby, two died on the day of the Derby and five have died since.

Churchill Downs officials say they’ve moved races to another location to make sure the track’s surface itself isn’t causing injuries to the horses.

All of the horses have been taken to the University of Kentucky veterinary diagnostics lab for further medical examination to try to identify a pattern in the 12 deaths.


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