equine fatalities

Q&A on Churchill/Ellis with Track Surfaces Expert Mick Peterson

Dr. Michael "Mick" Peterson, Jr. is the executive director of the independent Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory. He is a mechanical engineer who is widely considered the preeminent track surface specialist in North America. His team has conducted the ongoing testing at Churchill Downs, and it will be tasked this week with being sure Ellis Park is ready to handle a race meet in expedited fashion while also helping out with the continued surface analysis at Churchill. TDN spoke with Peterson early Friday evening in the wake of the 12 horse...

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Churchill Downs to Suspend Meet, Move Racing to Ellis Park

Reeling from a rash of breakdowns that has developed into what can only be described as a crisis for the track and for the entire sport, track management at Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced Friday that racing will be suspended at Churchill after Sunday's card and that the remainder of the scheduled meet will be run at Ellis Park. The first day of racing at Ellis will be held on June 10. The Churchill-at-Ellis meet will end on July 3. Racing at Churchill will be held as scheduled this Saturday...

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KHRC Update on Churchill's Horse Fatalities

On the heels of both the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) and Churchill Downs updating horsemen and the public Thursday on actions taken regarding the 12 equine deaths since Apr. 27 at the Louisville oval, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) issued an update of their own Friday afternoon outlining investigative actions already taken and planned to be taken in the future. The statement, which originated from the Commonwealth of Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, appears in its entirety below: "The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) takes the safety of...

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HISA Issues Churchill Downs Update

After 12 horses suffered fatal injuries at Churchill Downs in the last five weeks, prompting the Louisville track to announce new safety initiatives Thursday, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) issued an update on the situation. The HISA statement appears below in its entirety: Over the past several days, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has undertaken multiple measures to better understand the circumstances surrounding the recent spate of equine fatalities at Churchill Downs in hopes of working with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and Churchill Downs...

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Lazarus Outlines HISA Approach To Churchill Deaths

Lisa Lazarus, the CEO of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA), has written an open letter to industry participants, addressing the measures HISA plans to implement in the wake of a spate of fatalities during the first week of the Churchill Downs meet leading up to and including Kentucky Derby day. The statement, in its entirety, reads: Fellow racing participants, I wanted to take a minute of your time to share an update on HISA's role related to the events of last week along with a perspective on what's...

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MJC Issues New Statement on Laurel, Racing will Resume

The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC), which cancelled racing this weekend after two fatalities at Laurel Park Thursday, issued a new statement late Saturday regarding the status of the Laurel surface. The statement appears in full below: The Maryland Jockey Club has cancelled its Thursday, Apr. 27 racing program at Laurel Park due to insufficient entries. The racing office will be open and taking entries Sunday for the Friday, Apr. 28 program. We acknowledge the recent statements in the press regarding the safety of our racing surface. However, we want to...

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Safety Featured at AZ Commission Meeting

At a special Arizona Racing Commission Meeting Wednesday, Turf Paradise's equine safety record was once again a serious bone of contention, with commissioner Rory Goree calling the track's equine fatality numbers "deplorable." In her routine track safety report, Sue Gale, the Arizona Department of Gaming's chief veterinarian, explained that 22 horses have died at Turf Paradise since the start of the meet, on Nov. 5 of last year--nine racing-related fatalities, five during training, and eight due to illness. The racing-related catastrophic injury rate works out to 2.8 fatalities per 1000...

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This Side Up: Faults On All Sides Require Fairness All Round

Ever get the feeling that somebody up there doesn't like us very much? Of all of the horses, in all of the world... But really it doesn't make any difference, however you interpret the tragedy of Medina Spirit (Protonico). The net result, for our community, is the same--whether you think the whole melodrama unfolded, entirely and lucklessly, at random; or was somehow determined by our own culpable behaviors. Whoever is writing these scripts, we have been cast in the same role. We are being tested. And if we don't get...

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Medina Spirit: The Public, Mainstream Media Reacts

The death of Medina Spirit (Protonico) following a workout Monday at Santa Anita has resulted in a predictable backlash, with at least two media outlets calling for the sport to be banned and readers of some of the nation's most prominent newspapers posting numerous vitriolic comments online. Here is a sampling of what has been written and said about horse racing following Monday's shocking news: The New York Post led the charge with Maureen Callahan writing a column with the headline "Medina Spirit's shocking death is yet another reason we...

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Taskforce Not Penalties for Equine Fatalities, Said CTT at CHRB Meeting

If reception is any guide, the main takeaway by far from Tuesday's California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Medication, Safety, and Welfare Committee meeting was the suggestion of an accident prevention taskforce to systematically study the myriad factors behind fatal equine injury. The primary discussion on the meeting agenda was a highly anticipated one, concerning the possibility of penalizing trainers for injuries and fatalities for horses in their care. During the meeting introduction, CHRB executive director, Scott Chaney, and CHRB chairman, Gregory Ferraro, explained that while California has witnessed a sharp...

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Penalize Trainers for Equine Fatalities? The Ins and Outs

An indication of just how prickly an upcoming California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Medication, Safety, and Welfare Committee meeting discussion will likely be--one on potentially penalizing trainers for equine injuries and fatalities--can be evinced through a tweet the agency's spokesperson, Mike Marten, issued on Sept. 26. The digital missive goes: "Considerable interest in this Oct. 19 CHRB committee agenda item: 'Discussion regarding the advisability of penalizing trainers for injuries and fatalities for horses in their care.' Emphasis on the word 'discussion.' Very early in a complicated process." A "complicated process"...

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Turf Paradise Race Dates Approved, But Doubts Remain Over Meet

In a special meeting Monday morning, the Arizona Racing Commission formally approved the proposed 2021-2022 race dates for Turf Paradise--Nov. 5 through May 7--but hard practical questions remain over what participation at that meet could look like due to an ongoing standoff between the Arizona horsemen and Turf Paradise management. As a result of welfare concerns springing from a 2020-2021 Turf Paradise race meet marred by a high number of equine fatalities, the Arizona Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (AZHBPA) have stated they will not sign any race-meet contract until...

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