Racing will return to Churchill Downs as scheduled for the track's regularly scheduled meeting beginning Sept. 14. The announcement comes following an “evaluation of existing safety protocols and a thorough assessment of industry best practices,” according to a release from the track.
Operations at the Louisville oval were suspended in early June following a rash of breakdowns during the first month of the meeting that began only a few days prior to the running of the GI Kentucky Derby. The balance of the Churchill spring meet was run at Ellis Park from June 10 through July 3.
Officials at Churchill Downs have announced several key enhancements to include:
- Infrastructure Upgrades: Analysis by multiple leading industry experts found no issues with the racing surfaces, however, to further maximize surface oversight and consistency, the Racetrack has invested in additional new surface maintenance equipment and committed to doubling the frequency of surface testing;
- Increased Veterinary Oversight: Additional resources will be added to CDI's highly qualified veterinary team to provide additional monitoring and specialized care for horses and assist in pre-race inspections and entry screening;
- Collaboration with Industry Experts: Work will continue with HISA and other industry experts to predict at-risk horses using up-to-date data and advanced analytic techniques;
- Establish Safety Management Committee: A new safety committee will be established consisting of horsemen designees, racetrack employees and veterinarians to candidly discuss concerns and observations to constantly provide real time feedback on areas of improvement.
“We are excited to resume live racing again at Churchill Downs,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “Our commitment to safety remains paramount as we enter this September meet and our participants, fans and the public can be assured that we will continue to investigate, evaluate and improve upon every policy and protocol.”