LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two horses have died the past two days following injuries at Churchill Downs, the 11th and 12th fatalities over the past month at the home of the Kentucky Derby.
Mare Kimberley Dream was euthanized after sustaining a distal sesamodean ligament rupture to her front leg during Saturday’s first race. Lost in Limbo was euthanized following a similar injury just before the finish line in Friday’s seventh race.
The track stated in a release that both injuries were “inoperable and unrecoverable.”
As team members mourn the loss of the animals, the statement added, the track is working to determine cause and appropriate investments to minimize risk to the sport and its property.
“We do not accept this as suitable or tolerable and share the frustrations of the public, and in some cases, the questions to which we do not yet have answers,” the statement added. “We have been rigorously working since the opening of the meet to understand what has led to this spike and have yet to find a conclusive discernable pattern as we await the findings of ongoing investigations into those injuries and fatalities.”
Also, a Kentucky steward’s report from May 13 lists the previously unreported death of Bosque Redondo after finishing 10th in the seventh race. The report did not state the injury, but the colt was transported to Lexington for observation and eventually put down after a poor prognosis for recovery.
Churchill Downs’ statement said it commissioned surface expert Mick Peterson to perform additional tests on the track and that the data did not raise concerns. The data is consistent with prior measurements from Churchill Downs or other tracks, the statement added.
An epidemiological study with the Jockey Club is reviewing each horse to determine undetected patterns not previously identified, the statement added.
“We are troubled by this recent string of fatalities,” the statement said. “It is extremely inconsistent with the outcomes we have experienced over the years, with the reputation we have developed over the decades and with the expectations we set for ourselves and owe our fans. We are committed to doing this important work and updating the public with our developments.”
Kimberley Dream and Lost in Limbo were both 7-year-old Kentucky breds with at least 35 starts each.
Trained by Freddie Winston, Kimberley Dream was making her 61st start in the 1 1/16th mile claiming race. Jockey Jesus Castanon pulled her up passing the 3/16th pole and she was vanned off, Equibase race chart notes stated.
Lost in Limbo, a gelding trained by Michael Lauer, collapsed inside the final 1/16th and threw jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., the race chart noted. He was vanned away.
The notes added that Lost in Limbo dropped his rider before the six-furlong claiming race and ran loose before being gathered by an outrider. He was remounted without incident and endured contact from horses on both sides at the start from the No. 4 post, the chart noted.
Kimberley Dream was winless in four starts this year. She had seven wins, eight seconds and six thirds with $174,372 in earnings. Lost in Limbo had two thirds in four starts this year and five career, along with five wins and three seconds. He earned $225,996 lifetime.
Seven horses 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.