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Churchill Downs issues statement on horse injuries

6 May 2023

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Two horses sustained severe injuries during today’s Churchill Downs race card. Chloe’s Dream suffered a right knee fracture in Race 2 at the top of the first turn. Freezing Point incurred a left front biaxial sesamoid fracture in Race 8 midway down the backstretch. In the interest of pursuing the most humane treatment for each horse, the owner, trainer and private veterinarian, in consultation with a board-certified equine surgeon, made the difficult decision to euthanize. We express our most sincere condolences to those connections who cared for and loved Chloe’s Dream and Freezing Point.

It is with the utmost sadness that we report these tragic fatal injuries. Churchill Downs is unwavering in our commitment to the health and well-being of equine safety. The equine fatalities leading to this year’s Kentucky Derby are a sobering reminder of the urgent need to mobilize our industry in order to explore every avenue possible and effectively minimize any avoidable risk in the sport.

Despite our determination to continually improve upon the highest industry standards, there is more to be done and we will rigorously work to understand what caused these incidents and build upon our existing data, programs and practices to better understand what has been incredibly difficult for us to witness and accept this week.

While each incident reported has been unique, it is important to note that there has been no discernable pattern detected in the injuries sustained. Our track surfaces are closely monitored by industry experts to ensure their integrity. Each horse that participates in racing at Churchill Downs must undergo multiple, comprehensive veterinarian exams and observations to ensure their fitness to race.

From here, we will fully and actively work with the Kentucky Horseracing Commission (KHRC) and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) to thoroughly investigate each incident to determine, to the degree possible, any underlying health or environmental causes and apply those learnings to continue to improve the safety of this sport. Together, we all want what is best for the horses.

The team at Churchill Downs works year-round to deliver an inspiring and world-class event to thousands of fans, but also to provide the safest racing environment each and every day. We are proud of the enduring legacy of the Kentucky Derby and these magnificent horses are central to its iconic appeal. While we believe the incidents leading to this year’s Derby are anomalies, they are unacceptable and we remain steadfast in our commitment to safety and integrity.
 
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