Nation reacts to spree of horse deaths at Kentucky tracks

Lexington, Ky.–Kentucky horse racing tracks have seen a spree of equine deaths this spring, with at least 16 fatalities this year, including seven horses dead at Churchill Downs, three killed at Keeneland, and six dead racehorses at Turfway Park. As the excitement built for the annual Kentucky Derby, the national media took notice of the recent horse deaths, shining a spotlight on the dark side of horse racing during a weekend which is usually dedicated to glamorizing the sport.

The Paulick Report compiled a list of national and local headlines on the deaths. We updated the list with a few more. Check it out below:

National coverage

Axios: Deaths cast shadow over Derby

New York Times: Kentucky Derby Live Updates: Scratch of Favorite Forte Shakes Up Already Chaotic Derby

Los Angeles Times: Sixth horse dies at Churchill Downs ahead of Kentucky Derby

Sports Illustrated: ‘The Lowest of the Lows’: The Drama That Has Clouded Derby Week

USA Today: Kentucky Derby’s fragility on display with favorite Forte’s morning scratch

Wall Street Journal: Kentucky Derby Favorite Forte Is Scratched as Caution Prevails at Churchill Downs

NPR: 4 horses die at Churchill Downs ahead of the Kentucky Derby

CNN: Churchill Downs: After four horses die, home of Kentucky Derby calls circumstances ‘unacceptable’ and ‘troubling’

Yahoo! Sports: Kentucky Derby: Seventh horse dies at Churchill Downs in lead-up to main event

Fox News: Early Kentucky Derby favorite Forte scratched just hours before the race’s start; sixth horse dies

Local Coverage

Lexington Herald-Leader: Another horse dies after Churchill Downs race, this time on Kentucky Derby Day

Lexington Herald-Leader: Kentucky Derby contender scratched, trainer suspended in wake of horse deaths at Churchill

Louisville Courier-Journal: Chloe’s Dream: Sixth horse death in lead up to 149th running of Kentucky Derby

WKYT & LEX18 (Lexington, Ky.): Kentucky Derby races on amid 6th death, scratched favorite

WLKY (Louisville, Ky.): Another horse euthanized following race at Churchill Downs

Horse advocate reacts

Horseracing Wrongs is a non-profit committed to eradicating horse racing in the United States. Its president, Patrick Battuello reacted to the deaths in a post.

While such a cluster is unusual, death at the track is not. Churchill Downs has averaged 25 kills annually over the past five years. Currently, they’re at 7 in 2023. Nationally, HW has confirmed – names, dates, locations, and details – almost 10,000 deaths on our website. We estimate that over 2,000 racehorses die across America every year – about six per day. So, ignore their deflections, distractions, and outright deceptions. From breeding for speed, to employing pubescent bodies, to the incessant grinding – not to mention commodification – of those bodies, to forcing them to run at an unnatural rate, in an unnatural way, and through unnatural means, horseracing guarantees a certain level of killing. Guarantees. And they know it.

Patrick Battuello, Founder, President, Horse Racing Wrongs