Churchill Downs racetrack will work with regulators to conduct an investigation after four horses died in the run-up to Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the venue said Wednesday.
Wild On Ice was signed up to run in the first race of the prestigious Triple Crown series, but had to be euthanized last week after sustaining a leg injury during training at the Louisville, Kentucky track.
Three other horses not expected to take part in the Kentucky Derby also died: Parents Pride and Chasing Artie died suddenly on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, while Take Charge Briana was euthanized after sustaining musculoskeletal injuries during a turf race on Tuesday.
“While a series of events like this is highly unusual, it is completely unacceptable,” Churchill Downs said.
“We take this very seriously and recognize that these troubling incidents are alarming and must be addressed.”
The multiple incidents “should be distressing to anyone with an interest in horse welfare and the reputation of the horse racing industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of advocacy group Animal Wellness Action.
“It should be a top priority for Churchill Downs and all other tracks to make horse welfare their top priority,” Pacelle said in a statement.