LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Horse racing’s oversight authority will hold an emergency summit Tuesday with Churchill Downs, Kentucky’s racing commission and HISA veterinary teams to review information and analysis in the wake of 12 horse fatalities in the past month at the home of the Kentucky Derby.
The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) announced Monday that it will also send track superintendent Dennis Moore for a second independent analysis of the training and surfaces. HISA equine safety and welfare director Jennifer Durenberger will provide additional veterinary expertise and oversight of horses at Churchill Downs.
In a statement, the National Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority said, “We remain deeply concerned by the unusually high number of equine fatalities at Churchill Downs over the last several weeks. we continue to seek answers, and we are working diligently with Churchill downs and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to mitigate any additional risk.”
The review will begin Wednesday, a HISA release on Monday stated. CEO Lisa Lazarus and track safety director Ann McGovern will visit the track to receive analysis results and suggest follow-up.
Seven horses died from training or racing injuries at Churchill Downs leading up to the 149th Kentucky Derby on May 6, including two on the undercard. Gelding Lost in Limbo and mare Kimberley Dream, both 7-year-olds, were euthanized after sustaining similar leg injuries over the weekend at the track.
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Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell is calling on the industry to change. He sponsored the legislation that created the new horse racing authority and said he wants to make horse racing safer, and that the new authority will ensure the future of the industry.
“And of course, we had the week of the Kentucky Derby, a good example of why that’s necessary. I think this will be a step in the right direction to normalize and standardize the way that animals are treated before and after races,” McConnell said.