After 12 Horses Die, Kentucky Derby Host Churchill Downs Suspends Racing

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After 12 horses died at the famous track in the last month, Churchill Downs said it will stop all racing until safety steps are looked at again.

Churchill Downs Incorporated, which owns the track, said in a statement Friday that the rest of the Spring Meet would be moved to Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in Henderson, which it also owns. Season is over on July 3.

On June 10, 2023, the Triple Crown races will end with the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

The track said that racing at Churchill Downs would stop after the races this weekend and start up again at Ellis on June 10.

On May 27, it was said that two more horses had died at the track where the Kentucky Derby is held. They were the eleventh and twelfth horses to die this spring.

The track surface was checked, but there were no red flags. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the Horse racing Integrity and Safety Authority have also done investigations.

In a statement, Churchill Downs Incorporated said, “No single factor has been identified as a possible cause, and no clear pattern has been found that links the deaths.”

Racing will be put on hold, according to the parent corporation, so that safety precautions can be evaluated.

CDI decided to move the meet “in order to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all safety and surface protocols,” it stated. “Even though the investigations and expert reports have indicated no surface issues, CDI has elected to relocate the meet.”

Animal welfare groups lamented the fatalities and asked tracks to make circumstances better.

The president of Animal Wellness Action, Wayne Pacelle, made the statement right before the Kentucky Derby in May. “It should be a top priority for Churchill Downs and all other tracks to make horse welfare their top priority,” he added.

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