Why are the Kentucky Derby 2023 horses dying in such large numbers and death reason explained

Why are the Kentucky Derby 2023 horses dying in such large numbers and death reason explained

The recent death of several horses at Churchill Downs during the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby 2023 have sparked widespread concern among animal welfare advocates and racing enthusiasts who want to know why they are dying so rapidly

Seven horses died in a short time, prompting an investigation into the causes of their deaths and the conditions at the Kentucky Derby.

Why are the Kentucky Derby 2023 horses dying in such large numbers and death reason 

Churchill Downs, the organization responsible for the track and the Kentucky Derby has promised to cooperate with regulators to investigate the deaths and to take steps to ensure the safety of horses in the future. The statement released by Churchill Downs acknowledges the deaths of the horses and says that it is “completely unacceptable.”

The organization claims that it takes these incidents very seriously and feels a tremendous responsibility to everyone involved in the sport to be a leader in safety.

Causes of horse deaths at Kentucky Derby

Four of the horse deaths have been publicly attributed to injuries sustained on the track at the Kentucky Derby while the deaths of others remain unknown. Both Wild on Ice and Take Charge Briana suffered injuries while on the track and had to be euthanized.


On April 29th, Code of Kings broke its neck while in a saddling paddock and had to be euthanized. Chloe’s Dream suffered a leg injury during a race on Saturday and had to be taken off the track in an ambulance. Unfortunately, Chloe’s Dream was also later euthanized due to the severity of the injury. Freezing Point was announced to have died shortly after pulling up injured during the Pat Day Mile.

Investigations in Kentucky Derby horse deaths

Churchill Downs is not the only organization conducting an investigation. Horse Integrity and Safety Authority CEO Lisa Lazarus have pledged to investigate the incidents and share the results of her organization’s findings.

The investigation aims to identify the contributing factors and to deploy learnings to minimize future risks.


Despite the assurances of Churchill Downs and the Horse Integrity and Safety Authority, animal welfare advocates and critics of the racing industry are calling for more substantial changes. The incidents have renewed scrutiny of the racing industry, particularly in the wake of previous controversies surrounding horse doping, mistreatment, and neglect.

Critics argue that the racing industry prioritizes profits and spectacle over the well-being of the animals and that this incident underscores the urgent need for the industry to prioritize the safety and welfare of the animals.


Churchill Downs is a step in the right direction, but there is still much work to ensure that such tragedies do not occur in the future.

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