Churchill Downs to investigate deaths of 4 horses

Churchill Downs Racetrack will work with regulators to conduct an investigation after four horses died in the lead-up to Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, the venue said on Wednesday.

Wild On Ice was entered to run in the first race of the prestigious Triple Crown series but had to be euthanized last week after suffering a leg injury during a workout at the Louisville, Kentucky, track.

Three other horses who were not expected to run in the Kentucky Derby also died: Parents Pride and Chasing Artie died suddenly on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, while Take Charge Briana was euthanized after sustaining musculoskeletal injuries during a Tuesday turf race.

“While a series of events like this is highly unusual, it is completely unacceptable,” Churchill Downs said.

“We take this very seriously and acknowledge that these troubling incidents are alarming and must be addressed.”

The multiple incidents “should be distressing to anyone interested in the well-being of horses and the reputation of the horse-racing industry,” said Wayne Pacelle, the president of advocacy group Animal Wellness Action.

“It should be a top priority for Churchill Downs and all other tracks to make horse welfare their top priority,” Pacelle said in a statement.

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