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A series of racehorse deaths prompted the legendary Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky to suspend its racing operations beginning June 7.
The suspension will continue throughout the spring meet schedule. According to a release from Race.
In the past month, 12 horses have died at the home of the Kentucky Derby.
“What happened on our track is deeply saddening and completely unacceptable,” Churchill Towns Incorporated CEO Bill Carstangen said in a statement. “Despite our best efforts to identify the cause of the recent horse injuries, there are no issues linked to our racing surfaces or environment at Churchill Downs, but it will take more time to review everything from top to bottom. The details and circumstances will help us further strengthen our surfacing, safety and integrity protocols.
The situation is reminiscent of a similar program at Santa Anita Park, adjacent to Los Angeles, which was shut down indefinitely after 21 horses died in 10 weeks at the storied Southern California arena, closing the facility for more than a year before reopening in 2021.
In its release, Churchill Downs said the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Commission determined that “no single factor was identified as a probable cause and no clear pattern was found to link the fatalities.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called for the closure of Churchill Downs, calling the facility a “killing ground.”