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4 horses have died at Churchill Downs ahead of 149th Kentucky Derby

Four horses have reportedly died at Churchill Downs since Thursday ahead of the 149th Kentucky Derby on Saturday. Two of the horses belonged to the same owner.

Churchill Downs is gearing up for the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, but this week has brought some eeriness to the famous racetrack. 

Four horses have died after running at the track since Thursday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. 

Two horses had the same owner, Ken Ramsey, whose farm manager, Mark Patridge, confirmed the deaths to the outlet. They were also both jockeyed by Luis Saez. 


Parents Pride collapsed and died following its race Saturday, while Chasing Artie died after its race Tuesday. No cause of death for the two horses has been determined, although the deaths do not appear to be injury-related. Bloodwork and labs came back normal, so necropsies will be done to determine how the horses died.

Take Charge Briana was euthanized Saturday after sustaining an injury that was called "catastrophic" by Daily Racing Forum.


Wild on Ice was also euthanized Thursday after breaking a hind leg while training. The horse, owned by Frank Sumpter, was preparing to run at the Kentucky Derby. 

Parents Pride and Chasing Artie were both trained by one of the top trainers in the sport, Saffie Joseph Jr. His horses won more than $10 million last year. 

Speaking to USA Today, Joseph said he was not sure what is going to happen with other horses he’s been training following the mysterious deaths. 

"When you don’t know something, that’s when it worries you the most," he said. "Something is wrong. A lot of thoughts run through your head, but you can drive yourself insane. 

"I’m very uneasy right now. It’s not something I would wish on anybody."

Joseph also told the Courier-Journal that "these horses, it wasn’t because of injury. They left the gate and didn’t even try and then dropped down. … Theories aren’t going to help. We need facts."

The Courier-Journal noted that Churchill Downs reported a 2.73 per 1,000 starts death rate in 2018, the second-highest among 25 tracks that report horse fatalities. 

Post time is set for 6:57 p.m. ET Saturday for this year's running of the Kentucky Derby.

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