Kentucky Derby

Churchill Downs officials are dealing with the recent deaths of four horses as the race track prepares to host the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, four horses have died since Thursday after racing at Churchill Downs.

One of the horses, Wild on Ice, was preparing to run in the derby. He broke a hind leg during training and was euthanized Thursday.

Two of the horses collapsed and died after competing in spring racing events. Parents Pride collapsed and died Saturday. Chasing Artie died after racing Tuesday.

The causes of death for both those horses remain undetermined, according to Saffie Joseph Jr., the trainer for both animals. The horses’ feed and supplements are being tested.

“We’re going to have to figure out, ‘What’s the reason?’” Joseph told the Courier-Journal. “I don’t think it’s bad fortune. It’s not about that, to happen twice. … I don’t have an answer right now. I wish I did.

“Something’s not right. These horses, it wasn’t because of injury. They left the gate and didn’t even try and then dropped down. … Theories aren’t going to help. We need facts.”

Another horse, Take Charge Briana, was euthanized Saturday after sustaining a “catastrophic” injury.

Horse deaths are a relatively common occurrence at race tracks; the Courier-Journal cites an industry statistic showing that 7,200 horses died as the result of racing injuries from 2009-21.

However, to have four die in a matter of days at Churchill Downs, right before the Kentucky Derby, makes this situation notable. That one of them was a Derby entrant, and the cause of death for two horses has not been determined, makes the situation more troubling.

Churchill Downs officials released a statement on the deaths.

“While a series of events like this is highly unusual, it is completely unacceptable,” the statement reads. “We take this very seriously and acknowledge that these troubling incidents are alarming and must be addressed.”

[Louisville Courier-Journal]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.