Churchill Downs to resume racing

Racing surface passes review, track implements enhanced health and safety measures
A group of racehorses in the home stretch

Churchill Downs Incorporated announced yesterday that Churchill Downs Racetrack in Louisville–home of the iconic Kentucky Derby–will resume live racing for its regularly scheduled meet beginning September 14, 2023.

The meet follows a temporary suspension of racing to conduct an internal safety review in the wake of multiple horse fatalities just before and during the track’s spring meet.

After 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.

Summary of enhancements

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, the racetrack has invested in additional new surface maintenance equipment and 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.
  • 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.
  • Establish 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 Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “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 track’s September meet runs through October 1, and its fall meet runs from October 29 through November 26.

About Churchill Downs Racetrack

Churchill Downs Racetrack has been the home of The Kentucky Derby, the longest continually held annual sporting event in the United States, since 1875. For more information, visit the track’s website at www.ChurchillDowns.com. 

Note: This news release contains various “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

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