Horse Racing

Churchill Adds Safety Committee Ahead of September Meet

Churchill Downs Inc. announced July 31 that Churchill Downs racetrack has launched new safety initiatives ahead of its regularly scheduled meeting beginning Sept. 14. 

The meet will take place following a temporary suspension of racing during the spring/summer meet to conduct an internal safety review after a number of equine deaths. The final weeks of that meet were conducted at CDI-owned Ellis Park.

Following a comprehensive evaluation of existing safety protocols and a thorough assessment of industry best practices, Churchill Downs has implemented several key enhancements to further ensure the safety and well-being of equine and human athletes. Key elements include:

• Infrastructure upgrades: Analysis by multiple leading industry experts found no issues with the racing surfaces, however, to further maximize surface oversight and consistency, Churchill has invested in additional new surface maintenance equipment and has committed to doubling the frequency of surface testing.

• Increased veterinary oversight: Additional resources will be added to CDI’s highly qualified veterinary team to provide additional monitoring and specialized care for horses and assist in pre-race inspections and entry screening.

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• Collaboration with industry experts: Work will continue with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority and other industry experts to predict at-risk horses using up-to-date data and advanced analytic techniques.

• Establishment of a safety management committee: A new safety committee will be established consisting of horsemen designees, racetrack employees, and veterinarians to candidly discuss concerns and observations to constantly provide real time feedback on areas of improvement.

“We are excited to resume live racing again at Churchill Downs,” said CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen. “Our commitment to safety remains paramount as we enter this September meet and our participants, fans and the public can be assured that we will continue to investigate, evaluate and improve upon every policy and protocol.”

The September meet runs through Oct. 1. The fall meet runs from Oct. 29 through Nov. 26.

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.


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