LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two horses have died in the past two days following injuries at Churchill Downs, the 11th and 12th deaths over the past month at the site of the Kentucky Derby.
Mare Kimberley Dream was euthanized after sustaining a distal sesamodean ligament rupture in her front leg during the first race on Saturday. Lost in Limbo was euthanized following a similar injury just before the finish line in the seventh race on Friday.
The track indicated in a statement 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 the cause and appropriate investments to minimize risk to the sport and its property.
“We do not accept this as appropriate or tolerable and we share the public’s frustrations and, in some cases, the questions for which we do not yet have answers,” the statement added. “We have been working rigorously since the opening of the meeting to understand what led to this increase and have yet to find a conclusive discernible pattern as we await the findings of the ongoing investigations into those injuries and deaths.”
Also a Kentucky Administrator’s Report of 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 ultimately euthanized after a poor prognosis for recovery.
The Churchill Downs statement said it had commissioned surfacing expert Mick Peterson to carry out additional tests at the track and the data did not raise concerns. The data is consistent with previous measurements from Churchill Downs or other tracks, the statement added.
An epidemiological study with the Jockey Club is reviewing each horse for previously undetected undetected patterns, the statement added.
“We are concerned by this recent series of deaths,” the statement said. “It is extremely inconsistent with the results we have experienced over the years, with the reputation we have built over decades, and with the expectations we set for ourselves and owe to 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 Kentucky-bred 7-year-olds with at least 35 starts each.
Trained by Freddie Winston, Kimberley Dream was making her 61st start in the 1 1/16 mile claim race. Jockey Jesús Castañón picked her up past the 3/16 post and was taken away, Equibase career notes fixed.
Lost in Limbo, a gelding trained by Michael Lauer, collapsed inside the last 1/16 and dropped jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., run board scored. They took him away in a van.
The notes added that Lost in Limbo dropped his jockey before the claim race over six furlongs and got loose before being picked up by a guard. He was remounted without incident and endured contact from horses on both sides at the start from the No. 4 post, the chart notes.
Kimberley Dream is winless in four starts this year. He 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 in his career, along with five wins and three seconds. He earned $225,996 for life.
Seven horses died at Churchill Downs from training or racing injuries in the week leading up to the 149th Kentucky Derby on May 6, beginning with the Wild On Ice qualifier on April 27. Two were euthanized following injuries on the Derby undercard, and two others died on May 14 and 20.