Seven Horses Died at Churchill Downs Just Before Kentucky Derby

The tragic deaths of seven horses during the week prior to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs have raised serious questions about the safety and welfare of racehorses. Two horses, Parents Pride and Chasing Artie, died suddenly and both were trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., though the cause of their death has yet to be released. The other two horses, Wild on Ice and Take Charge Briana, suffered serious injuries that proved to be fatal. Additionally, a fifth horse, Code of Kings, died after flipping and breaking his neck while practicing before a race.

Churchill Downs has released a statement noting that there is no discernable pattern in these unfortunate incidents and that all horses that race must undergo comprehensive vet exams to ensure they are fit for racing. However, many animal protection groups are calling for reform within the industry – advocating for the full implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act – in an effort to protect animals from suffering needlessly due to human actions or negligence.

The Humane Society of the United States released a statement expressing its deepest condolences to those who cared for and loved Chloe’s Dream, Freezing Point, Parents Pride, Chasing Artie, Wild on Ice and Take Charge Briana. Its President & CEO Kitty Block adds that this tragedy underscores the urgent need for reform to protect the lives of horses.

“The unacceptable deaths of so many young horses surrounding the Kentucky Derby this year underscores the urgent need for reform to protect the lives of horses, including the immediate and full implementation of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act which has been held hostage by some horsemen obstructing the anti-doping provisions.”

Similarly, World Animal Protection US Executive Director Lindsay Oliver issued a statement saying “how many more horses have to die before action is taken?” This devastating loss serves as a reminder that profit should never come before animal welfare in any industry.


  1. Not to mention that most of the racehorses are not put out to pasture when their racing career is over. They are dumped at auctions and kill pens to be sent to Mexico for slaughter, a horrendous place that butchers these poor horses in a very brutal way! When I became aware of this I stopped going to the track. It’s all about the money!


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