Two more horses have died at Churchill Downs, the home of the famed Kentucky Derby, officials from the track announced on Saturday. A total of seven horses have now died at the racetrack in the week-long lead up to the race.
Three-year-old Chloe’s Dream was euthanized following Race 2 on Saturday, after taking a bad step leaving the first turn and being taken off in an equine ambulance, according to CNN affiliate WDRB.
In Race 8, Freezing Point pulled up suddenly and “was loaded into an equine ambulance under his own power,” Al Ruggles, the American Association of Equine Practitioners’ on-call veterinarian, told the NBC broadcast. The broadcast later said the horse was in a protective splint after suffering an injury to his front ankle before eventually being euthanized.
“Chloe’s Dream in Race 2 and Freezing Point in Race 8 sustained racing injuries from which they could not recover on Saturday, and for humane reasons, both were euthanized,” Darren Rogers, senior director of communications and media services for Churchill Downs, said in a statement to CNN. “The horses will be transported to the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostics Lab for complete necropsies.”
Saturday’s deaths both happened just hours before the main competition, scheduled for just before 7 pm ET on Saturday.
On Friday, racehorse trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. was suspended indefinitely by Churchill Downs following the “highly unusual” deaths of two of his horses, Parents Pride and Chasing Artie.
Three other horses – not trained by Joseph – also died in recent days. According to Churchill Downs, Wild on Ice, a Derby contender, was hurt while training on Thursday and Take Charge Briana was injured in a race on Tuesday. Both were “euthanized for humane reasons.”
On April 29, 3-year-old gelding Code of Kings died after flipping and breaking his neck in Churchill’s temporary paddock before a race, according to Daily Racing Form.