Four horses have died since opening night of the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs Racetrack — which hosts the crown jewel of competitive horse racing — called the death “highly unusual” and “totally unacceptable.”
“We take this very seriously and recognize that these troubling incidents are troubling and must be addressed,” Churchill Downs said in a public statement Wednesday.
Although thousands of horses have died over the past decade from racing-related injuries, with four deaths during a single Kentucky Derby week held each May in Louisville, Kentucky, owners, trainers and animal welfare activists are asking questions.
Two horses died of unknown causes when they both suddenly collapsed after finishing the race. According to a statement from Churchill Downs Racetrack, two more horses died this week from irreparable injuries. A horse must win three races to win the Derby’s coveted Triple Crown prize, which comes with a multi-million dollar prize.
Parents Pride died on Saturday, which was opening night, and Chase Artie died on Tuesday. Both were trained by owners Ken Ramsey and Saffy Joseph Jr., Churchill Downs Racetrack confirmed in a statement. Trainer Joseph Jr. told a local newspaper that the two horses appeared to have collapsed out of nowhere.
According to Purdue University, College of Surgery Professor Stephen B. Adams, two other horses suffered muscle injuries, which can lead to bone and joint disorders that can be debilitating and impair a horse’s ability to see, breathe and even chew and swallow. of Veterinary Medicine.
One horse, Wild Eyes, was injured during training on April 27, and a second horse, Take Charge Briana, was injured during a turf race on May 2. Wild on Ice was taken to Rudd & Riddle Equine Hospital for care, but both horses were “humanely euthanized,” Churchill Downs said.
Complete necropsies will be performed on all four horses at the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostics Lab, the statement said.
CBS News has reached out to Churchill Downs and Ramsey Farms for comment.