LOUISVILLE, Ky. (FOX 56) — Churchill Downs announced it will suspend racing operations at Churchill Downs Racetrack beginning June 7.

Churchill Downs has seen an unusual number of horse injuries over the previous month, which resulted in 12 horse fatalities. After a thorough internal review, the racetrack announced the remainder of the scheduled Spring Meet will be relocated to Ellis Park Racing & Gaming at Ellis Park in Henderson.

Through investigations with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Horseracing Integrity and Safety, no single factor has been found as a potential cause, and no discernible pattern has been detected between the fatalities.

Despite investigations and expert reports indicating no surface issues, Churchill Downs said the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

Relocating the meet will allow Churchill Downs to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all safety and surface protocols and integrity measures.

“The team at Churchill Downs takes great pride in our commitment to safety and strives to set the highest standard in racing, consistently going above and beyond the regulations and policies that are required,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “What has happened at our track is deeply upsetting and absolutely unacceptable. Despite our best efforts to identify a cause for the recent horse injuries, and though no issues have been linked to our racing surfaces or environment at Churchill Downs, we need to take more time to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all of the details and circumstances so that we can further strengthen our surface, safety and integrity protocols.”

“In addition to our commitment to providing the safest racing environment for our participants, we have an immense responsibility as the economic engine of the Thoroughbred industry in Kentucky which provides jobs and income for thousands of families every day,” Carstanjen continued. “By relocating the remainder of the meet to Ellis Park, we are able to maintain this industry ecosystem with only minor disruption. We are grateful to the Kentucky horsemen for their support, resiliency and continued partnership as we collectively work to find answers during this time.”

Ellis Park will operate with the same safety initiatives Churchill Downs announced earlier this week.


The first race will be held on June 10.