Two more horses were euthanized preceding the running of the 149th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, leaving the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” with seven total horse casualties in the days leading up to the event.
It’s an alarming statistic and one that leaves both casual observers and embedded participants of the sport with many more questions than answers. The horses were both injured in pre-card races and had to be removed from the track before being killed.
Fox News wrote of the two latest equine fatalities at the famous horse-racing mecca, saying:
Chloe’s Dream, a 3-year-old gelding that ran on the Derby undercard, was hauled away by a van and later euthanized Saturday morning.
Freezing Point, a 3-year-old colt, was then pulled from the Pat Day Mile race just hours before the start of the main event. The horse later received a lethal injection.
Following the “highly unusual” circumstances, Churchill Downs released a statement assuring everyone with interest in the sport that it took the “issue very seriously” and would be investing in ways to reduce risks.
“While a series of events like this is highly unusual, it is completely unacceptable,” the statement read. “We take this very seriously and acknowledge that these troubling incidents are alarming and must be addressed.”
“We feel a tremendous responsibility to our fans, the participants in our sport and the entire industry to be a leader in safety and continue to make significant investments to eliminate risk to our athletes. We have full confidence in our racing surfaces and have been assured by our riders and horsemen that they do as well,” it added.
The American Tribune previously reported on the catastrophic week leading up to Kentucky Derby weekend, citing a different Fox News article.
“As Churchill Downs prepares to host the 149th running of the famous Kentucky Derby, a spooky series of tragedies is plaguing the facilities. In the past week, four horses have died mysteriously while running the track,” the Tribune began, before adding: “Two of the four horses, whether coincidence or not, were both owned and jockeyed by the same pair of men.”
Since that article was written, Saffie Joseph Jr., trainer of a pair of now-dead horses, was suspended until an investigation could be completed.
The Fox News article specifically said:
Parents Pride collapsed and died following its race Saturday, while Chasing Artie died after its race Tuesday. No cause of death for the two horses has been determined, although the deaths do not appear to be injury-related. Bloodwork and labs came back normal, so necropsies will be done to determine how the horses died.
Take Charge Briana was euthanized Saturday after sustaining an injury that was called “catastrophic” by Daily Racing Forum.
As a result, one of the trainers, Saffie Joseph Jr., was suspended until more information could be garnered.
“Given the unexplained sudden deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses, and decided to suspend him indefinitely until details are analyzed and understood,” said Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI. “The safety of our equine and human athletes and integrity of our sport is our highest priority. We feel these measures are our duty and responsibility.”
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