Another horse died after running at Churchill Downs on Sunday, raising the tally to eight fatalities at the track in the weeks leading up to and since the Kentucky Derby.
Rio Moon was euthanized after he “suffered a catastrophic injury to his left foreleg a few strides after the wire,” according to an Equibase chart cited by the Associated Press. The 3-year-old ridden by jockey Martin Garcia and trained by Dale Romans was running in the sixth race of the day at the famed Louisville track.
Seven horses died after running at Churchill Downs in the leadup to the May 6 Kentucky Derby. Take Charge Briana and Wild on Ice died due to injuries sustained while racing in the days prior to the Derby. Code of Kings, a 3-year-old gelding, broke his neck after flipping in the saddling paddock on April 29. His trainer, Tim Glyshaw, believes flashing lights from a nearby DJ booth spooked him.
Freezing Point, a 3-year-old colt, and Chloe's Dream, a 3-year-old gelding, were euthanized on race day after suffering injuries while racing in undercards to the Kentucky Derby.
Two others — Chasing Artie and Parents Pride — collapsed and died suddenly without apparent injury after racing in the days prior to the Derby. They were both owned by Ken Ramsey, ridden by Luis Saez and trained by Saffie Joseph Jr. Churchill Downs suspended Joseph and scratched his horse, Lord Miles, from competing in the Kentucky Derby. The causes of death remain under investigation.
Racing-related horse fatalities have plagued Churchill Downs and tracks across the sport in recent years. The Courier-Journal reported in 2019 that the Churchill Downs death rate of 2.73 per 1,000 starts in 2018 was the second-highest among 25 tracks that publicly reported horse fatalities. Its rate of 2.42 per 1,000 (43 total deaths) from 2016 through 2018 was 50% higher than the national average over the same time, according to the report.