LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The number of horses euthanized at Churchill Downs since the stables reopened for training in late March rose to 12 on Saturday, track officials said.
Kimberley Dream was euthanized Saturday after suffering an unrecoverable injury to her left front leg, Tonya Abeln, a spokesperson for Churchill Downs, told the Louisville Courier Journal.
The horse suffered an injury similar to Lost in Limbo, who had to be put down on Friday, WLKY-TV reported.
Lost in Limbo “significantly injured his left front leg” near the end of Friday’s seventh race at the Kentucky track, Will Farmer, the track’s equine medical director, confirmed to Churchill Downs officials early Saturday.
The total of horses euthanized at Churchill Downs has risen to 12 since March 30.
“It is with absolute dismay and sorrow that we report this highly unusual statistic,” Churchill Downs said in a statement. “Our team members mourn the loss of these animals as we continue to work together to discover cause and determine appropriate investments to minimize, to the degree possible, any avoidable risk in this sport and on our property.
“We do not accept this as suitable or tolerable and share the frustrations of the public, and in some cases, the questions to which we do not yet have answers. We have been rigorously working since the opening of the meet to understand what has led to this spike and have yet to find a conclusive discernable pattern as we await the findings of ongoing investigations into those injuries and fatalities.”
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority are investigating the deaths, WLEX-TV reported.
Darren Rogers, another Churchill Downs spokesperson, said Mick Peterson, the director of the Ag Equine Programs at the University of Kentucky’s Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, analyzed and researched the track on Tuesday, the Courier Journal reported. Peterson is still waiting for the results.
Peterson and his team conducted engineering analysis in April, ahead of the Kentucky Derby and the results “were consistent with previous testing.”
The two equine deaths over the past 24 hours are the latest at the fabled Kentucky race course.
Rio Moon broke his leg as he crossed the finish line during the sixth race at Churchill Downs on May 14, a week after the Kentucky Derby, WLKY-TV reported.
On the day of the Kentucky Derby three weeks ago, Freezing Point suffered a left ankle injury in the Pat Day Mile race. Earlier on the card, Chloe’s Dream, a 3-year-old gelding, was put down during the second race due to a right front knee injury.
Take Charge Briana, a 3-year-old filly, had a “catastrophic” injury on May 2 while taking part in the fifth race on the Churchill Downs turf. She had to be euthanized, WHAS-TV reported. Chasing Artie, a 5-year-old gelding, collapsed after the eighth race and died.
Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, horses that were trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., also were put down, WHAS-TV reported. Their deaths resulted in Joseph’s suspension from Churchill Downs, according to the television station.