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A 12th horse since April 27th has died at Churchill Downs in Louisville and the track’s leadership is trying to find answers.
Kimberley Dream was euthanized following her 61st race on Saturday, Fox News reported, adding the horse experienced an inoperable ligament rupture to one of her front legs.
The incident happened after seven-year-old Lost in Limbo fell down during a race on Friday and never got up again.
“From April 27 to the Kentucky Derby May 6, seven horses died from either injuries or collapsing on the track. Two of those horses died in the undercard of the Derby, and another, Wild on Ice, was supposed to run in the race that was won by Mage. Five have died after runs at the track since then,” the outlet said.
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In a statement Saturday, Churchill Downs expressed its sadness over the deaths. It also offered assurance its leadership was trying to find the cause:
We do not accept this as suitable or tolerable and share the frustrations of the public and, in some cases, the questions to which we do not yet have answers. We have been rigorously working … to understand what has led to this spike and have yet to find a conclusive [discernible] pattern as we await the findings of ongoing investigations into these injuries and fatalities.
Churchill Downs said it understood people wanted answers but it respected the process and authority of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) when it came to the investigations.
The organization also said it was working with those authorities to improve safety measures of the sport.
“It’s been a very stressful and trying week for horse racing fans and for fans of the horse racing sport,” Horse Racing Analyst Craig Johnson said during an interview on May 8 after seven horses died:
“I think what is most stressful is that this was horse racing’s biggest stage. Basically the Kentucky Derby is similar to the Super Bowl and a lot of eyes are on the sport,” he added.
Trainer Bob Baffert came back over the weekend following a long suspension, the Fox report said. Officials had barred him from the sport due to a positive drug test for the original winner of the Derby in 2021.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called for Baffert to be banned from the sport after a horse died while under his care, Breitbart News reported May 21.
The horse named Havnameltdown was euthanized when it suffered a serious ankle injury while running the track at the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Downs.
Meanwhile, Churchill Downs suspended trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. following the death of two of his horses who were on the track at the time, Breitbart News reported May 5.
“Under the rules of the suspension, the suspension prohibits Joseph, or any trainer employed by him, from entering horses in races or applying for stalls at tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc.,” the article said.