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Churchill Downs to suspend operations after recent horse deaths

The world famous track will review safety measures after a string of recent horse deaths.

Kentucky Derby workouts Photo by Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Racing operations at Churchill Downs Racetrack will be suspended to examine safety measures at the complex, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced on Friday. This comes in response to a string of 12 racehorse deaths occurring at the track throughout the month of May. Live racing will continue throughout the weekend before the suspension takes effect on June 7. The rest of the track’s spring meet will be relocated to Ellis Park in nearby Henderson, KY.

This decision comes amidst a wave of scrutiny the sport has received over the safety and treatment of the horses. Last month’s Kentucky Derby saw seven horses die during the week of the race, including two dying in undercard races the day of the Derby. A few weeks later, the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, MD, experienced similar tragedy when Bob Baffert-trained Havnameltdown was euthanized prior to that Triple Crown race at Pimlico Race Course.