Horse demise toll will increase to seven at Churchill Downs, sparking extra controversy on the Kentucky Derby

Two extra horses died within the hours earlier than 15-1 shot Mage gained the Kentucky Derby Saturday, growing this week’s demise depend at Churchill Downs to seven. 

The alarming variety of horse deaths forged a shadow over the 149th version of the world’s most well-known race.

Chloe’s Dream, a 3-year-old gelding that ran on the Derby undercard, was hauled away by a van and later euthanized Saturday morning. 

Freezing Point, a 3-year-old colt, was then pulled from the Pat Day Mile race simply hours earlier than the beginning of the primary occasion. The horse later acquired a deadly injection.

People react as they watch a horse race

People react as they watch the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Louisville, Ky.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A complete of 5 horses had been additionally suspended from the Kentucky Derby.

The deaths throughout Derby week have elevated the scrutiny of the game because it continues to cope with doping suspensions.


The ongoing points throughout the sport have additionally caught the eye of individuals attending the Derby.

“It’s regarding, and I hope they’re rapidly making an attempt the perfect they will to appropriate no matter’s happening,” mentioned Michael Freeze, who dressed up as a jockey. “They must do no matter is finest for the horses and the game on the whole.”

Mage had just one victory in three earlier races earlier than holding off 9-1 shot Two Phil’s within the stretch. The colt, who did not race as a 2-year-old, ran 1¼ miles in 2:01.57 underneath Javier Castellano.

The 45-year-old Hall of Fame jockey, who hasn’t been as in demand these days, snapped an 0-for-15 skid within the Derby. He and coach Gustavo Delgado are from Venezuela.

Horses at KEntucky Derby

Mage, left, ridden by jockey Javier Castellano, takes the surface of flip 4 throughout the 149th working of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 6, 2023, in Louisville, Ky.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“I by no means hand over,” Castellano mentioned. “I all the time attempt exhausting to do the appropriate factor. It took me a short time to get there. I lastly bought it.”

Mage joined Canonero II as Derby winners with Venezuelan ties. Canonero II gained the Derby and Preakness in 1971.

“Turning for dwelling, he had a number of coronary heart,” Castellano mentioned. “He’s somewhat horse with an enormous coronary heart.”

Two Phil’s was second and 4-1 favourite Angel of Empire was third in entrance of a crowd of 150,335 on a heat and partly cloudy day at Churchill Downs.

The first demise occurred one week in the past when Wild on Ice was injured whereas coaching. The horse was transported to an equine hospital in Lexington, the place he later was euthanized.

Two horses additionally died final Saturday. Parents Pride, educated by Saffie Joseph Jr., was pulled up within the stretch, however finally died on the observe.

Mage winning Kentucky Derby

Mage (8), ridden by jockey Javier Castellano, crosses the end line to win the 149th working of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 6, 2023, in Louisville, Ky.  (Sam Mallon/Getty Images)

Code of Kings flipped twice at a later level within the paddock and injured his neck. Take Charge Briana and Chasing Artie had been reported lifeless on Tuesday. Chasing Artie was additionally educated by Joseph and was in a position to end her race, however she collapsed close to the winner’s circle.

Churchill Downs issued a press release on the 4 deaths.

“While a collection of occasions like that is extremely uncommon, it’s utterly unacceptable,” the assertion mentioned. 

“We take this very critically and acknowledge that these troubling incidents are alarming and have to be addressed. We really feel an incredible duty to our followers, the members in our sport and your entire business to be a pacesetter in security and proceed to make vital investments to remove danger to our athletes. We have full confidence in our racing surfaces and have been assured by our riders and horsemen that they do as effectively.”

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission together with Churchill Downs later suspended Joseph indefinitely because it investigates the character of the deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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