Remainder of Spring Meet at Churchill Downs will move to Ellis Park

Churchill Downs
Churchill Downs(WAVE)
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 3:41 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Churchill Downs has made the decision to move the remainder of the Spring Meet to Ellis Park.

The decision comes after a series of 12 horse deaths since the meet began. Sunday, June 4, will be the last day of racing.

Live racing will resume as normal on Saturday and Sunday.

Trainer Joe Sharp confirmed with WAVE News that Churchill Downs alerted trainers on Friday they will move to Ellis Park to resume racing on Saturday, June 10.

Churchill Downs Incorporated said the company will suspend racing operations beginning June 7 through the remainder of the Spring Meet on July 3.

Another trainer, who wished to remain anonymous, said the same.

One trainer said they were notified to move their horses to Ellis Park after racing concludes on Sunday.

“Following a thorough internal review and concurrent investigations conducted by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (“KHRC”) and Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (“HISA”), no single factor has been identified as a potential cause and no discernable pattern has been detected to link the fatalities,” Churchill Downs said.

Diagnostics testing of the racetrack by experts have not raised concerns, the release said. Experts concluded that the surface is consistent with prior measurements from Churchill Downs in past years.

The decision to relocate was made due to an abundance of caution and in alignment with a HISA recommendation.

“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,” said Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “What has happened at our track is deeply upsetting and absolutely unacceptable. Despite our best efforts to identify a cause for the recent horse injuries, and though no issues have been linked to our racing surfaces or environment at Churchill Downs, we need to take more time to conduct a top-to-bottom review of all of the details and circumstances so that we can further strengthen our surface, safety and integrity protocols.”

A top-to-bottom review of all safety and surface protocols and integrity measures will be conducted.

“In addition to our commitment to providing the safest racing environment for our participants, we have an immense responsibility as the economic engine of the Thoroughbred industry in Kentucky which provides jobs and income for thousands of families every day,” Carstanjen continued. “By relocating the remainder of the meet to Ellis Park, we are able to maintain this industry ecosystem with only minor disruption. We are grateful to the Kentucky horsemen for their support, resiliency and continued partnership as we collectively work to find answers during this time.”

The release said new safety initiatives announced by Churchill Downs earlier this week will remain in effect for the remainder of this meet at Ellis Park.