Churchill Downs sets new safety initiatives following death of 12 horses

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) — Churchill Downs has set new safety initiatives following an emergency summit to address recent horse deaths on the track.

Twelve horses have died since the start of the season on March 30.

California-based equine surgeon Dr. Ryan Carpenter and Churchill Downs equine medical director Dr. Will Farmer attended the meeting.

Below are Churchill Downs initiatives announced at Thursday’s meeting:

  • A pause of track-based incentives such as trainer start bonuses and purse pay-out allocations to every race finisher through last place. Purse pay-outs will now be limited to the top five finishers
  • Restricting the number of starts per horse to four starts during a rolling eight-week period
  • Ineligibility standards for poor performance. Horses that are beaten by more than 12 lengths in five consecutive starts will be ineligible to race at Churchill Downs until approved by the Equine Medical Director to return

These initiatives will go into effect immediately.

“Any decision must be made first and foremost with the long-term well-being of the horse in mind,” Farmer said. “It is imperative that all available, educated and informed options can be efficiently, confidently and thoroughly relayed to the owners.”


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Horse racing authority calls for emergency summit with Churchill Downs in wake of 12 deaths

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