HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – After an unusually high number of horse deaths, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) is planning to investigate.

In a social media post from May 29, HISA stated, “HISA remains deeply concerned by the unusually high number of equine fatalities at Churchill Downs over the last several weeks and today announced additional measures to ensure the safest environment possible for horses racing at Churchill Downs.”

HISA says it will continue to seek answers, and is working with Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) to mitigate any additional risk. Officials say in addition to conducting a thorough and independent investigation of each fatality, HISA announced the following additional measures:

  1. HISA has called an emergency veterinary summit to be held on May 30 in Kentucky. This summit will convene the Churchill Downs, KHRC and HISA veterinary teams to thoroughly review all veterinary information available and conduct additional analysis in hopes of better understanding the events surrounding the recent fatalities.
  2. HISA has dispatched well-renowned, seasoned track superintendent Dennis Moore to provide a second and independent analysis of Churchill Downs’ racing and training surfaces. During the course of this review, which will begin May 31, HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus and Racetrack Safety Director Ann McGovern will also travel to Churchill Downs to receive the results of the analysis and any suggested follow-up.
  3. HISA has also dispatched its Director of Equine Safety and Welfare, Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, to provide additional veterinary expertise and observation on site at Churchill Downs to ensure optimal veterinary oversight of the horses.

HISA says it will continue to monitor the situation closely and will evaluate any additional next steps as appropriate. 

As of May 27, two more horses have died following injuries at Churchill Downs, the 11th and 12th fatalities over the past month at the home of the Kentucky Derby. So far, seven horses have died at Churchill Downs from training or racing injuries in the week leading up to the 149th Kentucky Derby on May 6, starting with qualifier Wild On Ice on April 27. Two were euthanized following injuries on the Derby undercard, and two others died on May 14 and May 20.