After 12 horses have died racing or training at the track since April 27, Churchill Downs officials announced Friday they will stop racing at the vaunted track after this weekend.
Spring Meet racing operations @ChurchillDowns will be suspended after Sunday to thoroughly examine safety measures. The remainder of Spring Meet racing dates will go to @EllisParkRacing starting Saturday, June 10 to maintain industry ecosystem.
— Churchill Downs PR (@DerbyMedia) June 2, 2023
Horseracingnation.com broke the news first, which came after Churchill Downs officials had a series of meetings and implemented rules regarding how often horses could start during a meeting.
Per the track release:
Churchill Downs announced today that the Company will suspend racing operations at Churchill Downs
Racetrack (“Churchill Downs”) beginning June 7, 2023, through the remainder of the Spring Meet,
scheduled to run to July 3. Live racing at Churchill Downs will be conducted as scheduled this weekend
on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4. The remainder of the race meet will be relocated to Ellis Park
Racing & Gaming (“Ellis Park”) in Henderson, Kentucky, beginning on Saturday, June 10.
Churchill Downs Racetrack has seen an unusual number of horse injuries over the previous month
resulting in 12 equine fatalities. Following a thorough internal review and concurrent investigations
conducted by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (“KHRC”) and Horseracing Integrity and Safety
Authority (“HISA”), no single factor has been identified as a potential cause and no discernable pattern
has been detected to link the fatalities. Diagnostics testing of the racetrack by experts have not raised
concerns and the experts have concluded that the surface is consistent with prior measurements from
Churchill Downs in past years. Even though the investigations and expert reports have indicated no
surface issues, in an abundance of caution, and in alignment with a recommendation from HISA, CDI has
elected to relocate the meet in order to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all safety and surface protocols
and integrity measures in collaboration and consultation with nationwide experts.
“The team at Churchill Downs takes great pride in our commitment to safety and strives to set the highest
standard in racing, consistently going above and beyond the regulations and policies that are required,”
said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “What has happened at our track is deeply upsetting and absolutely
unacceptable. Despite our best efforts to identify a cause for the recent horse injuries, and though no
issues have been linked to our racing surfaces or environment at Churchill Downs, we need to take more
time to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all of the details and circumstances so that we can further
strengthen our surface, safety and integrity protocols.”