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Churchill Downs suspends racing amid safety concerns


Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) has suspended all racing activity at its Churchill Downs Racetrack in Kentucky due to concerns over the safety of horses.

Racing will be halted on June 7 and remain suspended through the remainder of the Spring Meet until July 3. The remainder of the meet will be relocated to Ellis Park from June 10.

The suspension comes amid an unusual number of horse injuries over the previous month, resulting in 12 equine fatalities.

An internal review and investigations by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) failed to identify a single factor for this increase.

Diagnostics testing of the racetrack did also not raise concerns, with the surface consistent with prior measurements in past years.

However, despite no major issues having been flagged, CDI elected to relocate the meet to conduct a full review of all safety and surface protocols and integrity measures.

“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,” CDI chief executive Bill Carstanjen said.

“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.”

Carstanjen added: “By relocating the remainder of the meet to Ellis Park, we are able to maintain this industry ecosystem with only minor disruption.”