Emergency Summit Called by Horseracing Authority to Address Horse Fatalities at Churchill Downs

Horse racing's oversight authority, HISA, will hold an emergency summit with Churchill Downs to review the recent spike in horse fatalities.

In response to the alarming increase in horse fatalities at Churchill Downs, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has scheduled an emergency summit for Tuesday. The summit will bring together key stakeholders, including Churchill Downs, Kentucky’s racing commission, and HISA veterinary teams, to thoroughly analyze the available information and conduct a comprehensive review.

One of the crucial steps taken by HISA is the deployment of track superintendent Dennis Moore for an independent analysis of the training methods and track surfaces at Churchill Downs. This second analysis aims to provide an unbiased assessment and identify any potential factors contributing to the recent spate of horse fatalities. Additionally, HISA’s equine safety and welfare director, Jennifer Durenberger, will offer additional veterinary expertise and oversee the well-being of the horses at Churchill Downs.

The review process is set to commence on Wednesday, as stated in a release by HISA on Monday. HISA’s CEO, Lisa Lazarus, and track safety director, Ann McGovern, will visit the track to receive the analysis results and propose any necessary follow-up actions.

Leading up to the 149th Kentucky Derby on May 6, seven horses suffered training or racing injuries that resulted in their untimely deaths at Churchill Downs. Tragically, two additional horses, Lost in Limbo and Kimberley Dream, both 7-year-olds, were recently euthanized due to similar leg injuries sustained over the weekend at the track.

The series of horse fatalities has raised significant concerns within the horse racing community and beyond. As a result, the emergency summit called by HISA demonstrates a commitment to addressing these issues promptly and implementing measures to ensure the safety and well-being of racehorses. The findings and recommendations from the summit are expected to play a vital role in improving safety protocols and preventing future incidents in the sport.