Emergency summit being held after 12th horse dies at famed Churchill Downs

A horse racing oversight body called an emergency veterinary summit for Tuesday in Lexington, Kentucky, after 12 horses died in the past five weeks at Louisville’s Churchill Downs race track, the Courier-Journal reported.

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“We remain deeply concerned by the unusually high number of equine fatalities at Churchill Downs over the last several weeks,” The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA)  said in a news release.

The summit will convene veterinary officials from HISA, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, the news release said.

Twelve horses have died since April 27, an unusually high number of fatalities for Churchill Downs, home of one of the most famous horseraces in the world, the Kentucky Derby.

The latest two horses to either die or be euthanized at the track were injured on Friday and Saturday. The horses, Lost in Limbo and Kimberley Dream, suffered leg injuries that were deemed too severe to survive.

The deaths of the horses take a toll on owners and trainers as well.

“It hits you bad every time it happens,” said trainer Dale Romans, whose 3-year-old colt, Rio Moon, was euthanized after sustaining a left leg injury at Churchill Downs on May 14.

Romans told The Associated Press that, “We own these racehorses, (and) they give us so much pleasure. We owe it to them to do whatever we can to make sure they don’t break down, to make sure that it’s as small a percentage as possible.”

The review will begin Wednesday, according to HISA.

The horses who have either died or had to be euthanized at Churchill Downs since April 27 are:

  • April 27, Wild On Ice
  • April 29, Code of Kings
  • April 29, Parents Pride
  • May 2, Take Charge Briana
  • May 2, Chasing Artie
  • May 6, Chloe’s Dream
  • May 6, Freezing Point
  • May 13, Bosque Redondo
  • May 14, Rio Moon
  • May 20, Swanson Lake
  • May 26, Lost In Limbo
  • May 27, Kimberly Dream
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