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Churchill Downs Suspends Racing After 12 Horses Die

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Staff member
Jan 14, 2008

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) is suspending racing operations on its iconic racetrack after a dozen horses have died over the previous month, the company said in a statement on its website.

The location, which is home to the Kentucky Derby, has experienced an “unusual” number of horse injuries on the racetrack, which has led to the deaths, and it is shutting down the track as a precaution. It said it will also undergo an internal review of safety and surface protocols while the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority conducts an investigation.

“What has happened at our track is deeply upsetting and absolutely unacceptable,” Churchill Downs Incorporated CEO Bill Carstanjen said in the 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.”

Churchill Downs Incorporated said it has not yet been able to identify a single factor as to what is causing all the injuries or “detected” a pattern linked with the deaths, and reports from experts on the track have shown that there aren’t any surface issues and is consistent with prior measurements taken from the track in past years.

“In addition to our commitment to providing the safest racing environment for our participants, we have an immense responsibility as the economic engine of the Thoroughbred industry in Kentucky, which provides jobs and income for thousands of families every day,” Carstanjen said.
“By relocating the remainder of the meet to Ellis Park, we are able to maintain this industry ecosystem with only minor disruption,” he continued. “We are grateful to the Kentucky horsemen for their support, resiliency and continued partnership as we collectively work to find answers during this time.”