HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — In the wake of 12 horse deaths at Churchill Downs, the race track will be moving its spring-summer racing meet to Ellis Park in Henderson.

Churchill officials confirmed that the move will be made on June 7 for the remainder of the current meet.

Since the “unusual” number of horse deaths at the race track, Churchill conducted an inspection and jointly announced new safety measures with the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority.

“The team at Churchill Downs takes great pride in our commitment to safety and strives to set the highest standard in racing, consistently going above and beyond the regulations and policies that are required,” says Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI.

Carstanjen calls the sheer number of horse deaths at the track “deeply upsetting” and “absolutely unacceptable.”

“Today, Churchill Downs requested a voluntary move of their operations to Ellis Park for the remainder of their spring meet. Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of all racing participants, the KHRC approved the move,” says a Kentucky Horse Racing Commission spokesperson. “The KHRC is working closely with Churchill Downs and the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority (HISA) on continuing  investigations into the recent equine fatalities.”

Track officials tell us they will continue to thoroughly investigate safety measures while horses race at Ellis Park.

Ed DeRosa of Horse Racing Nation broke the news Friday evening and tells us he was surprised by the announcement.

“I’d say that a range of gobsmacked, you know, just true shock,” he says. “It seemed like yesterday would have been the day to do it, so clearly something changed. In the course of my reporting, I have not figured out what that something is.”

Despite making the move to Ellis, Churchill Downs will still finish off some races this weekend in Louisville.

“There’s a sense of confusion of, ‘okay, why are they running at all?’ before moving to Ellis,” says DeRosa. “It seems like they’re kind of having it both ways, at least for this weekend.”

Henderson County Judge-Executive says that despite the unfortunate circumstances, the community is ready for high grade races.