State Veterinarians Examine High Number Of Fatal Breakdowns In Kentucky

by | 10.16.2018 | 9:06pm

There was a fair amount of concern following the short September race meeting at Churchill Downs, when four horses suffered fatal breakdowns in the space of four days, and two more suffered the same fate during morning training hours. According to, Churchill's response was to bring in racing-surface specialist Mick Peterson; president Kevin Flanery said Peterson concluded that the surface “was as consistent as it has ever been.”

Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, reported that there were no commonalities between the six horses fatally injured at Churchill Downs. State veterinarians have since started to examine horses with specific risk factors prior to race day, and Scollay belives the new exams are “picking everyone's heads up a bit.” However, none of the six injured at Churchill Downs would have raised red flags under the new system, and necropsies have not yet been completed.

Additional numbers were revealed at Tuesday's KHRC meeting: five horses fatally broke down at Ellis Park this summer, and two more were fatally injured during the five-day meet at Kentucky Downs. Ellis has agreed to have Peterson review its turf course, where four of the five breakdowns occurred.


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