Churchill Downs Incorporated, the parent company of Churchill Downs, suspends racing at the track, effective immediately. This decision came as safety measures are being re-examined following the deaths of twelve horses at the track during the past month. The company has expressed its deep concern for the welfare of the horses and its commitment to ensuring their safety.
However, this does not mean the end of the Spring Meet. Churchill Downs has taken measures to ensure that the remaining races in the meet will still take place. These races will be moved to another Kentucky venue it owns, Ellis Park Racing & Gaming in Henderson. The season is scheduled to end on July 3, but the track is expected to cease racing after the weekend’s races and then continue at Ellis on June 10.
Churchill Downs has assured the public that it is taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the horses. The company has implemented a comprehensive review of all safety protocols and procedures and has consulted with industry experts to develop new safety measures that will help prevent future incidents. The suspension of racing is just one of the many steps that Churchill Downs is taking to ensure that the horses are protected.
In the meantime, Churchill Downs is encouraging fans to continue to support the horses and the sport of horse racing. The company has promised to keep the public informed about any updates regarding the Spring Meet and the safety of the horses.
Churchill Downs, home of the famous Kentucky Derby, had already reported the deaths of two more horses on May 27, which brought the total to 12 during the spring season. The venue probed track surface conditions but found no red flags. Investigations have been conducted by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. Churchill Downs Incorporated said in its statement that no single factor had been identified as a potential cause and no discernable pattern had been detected to link the fatalities.
Focus on Safety
Churchill Downs Incorporated said in its statement that it wanted to suspend racing to see if safety measures are working. The company added that even though investigations and expert reports indicated no surface issues, it had elected to relocate the meet to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all safety and surface protocols.
Animal Welfare Concerns
Animal welfare organizations have decried the deaths and urged tracks to improve conditions. Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action, said in a statement just ahead of the Kentucky Derby in May that horse welfare should be a top priority for Churchill Downs and all other tracks.
The Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, will wrap up the Triple Crown races for 2023 on June 10. Churchill Downs’ suspension of racing will allow for a review of safety and surface protocols.
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