Horse trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has been suspended from Churchill Downs indefinitely after two of his horses died suddenly on the racetrack in recent days; with the suspension comes the scratch of Joseph’s Lord Miles from the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Joseph was the trainer for Parents Pride and Chasing Artie. Both horses collapsed and died on the track on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, after the races.
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“Given the sudden unexplained deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of your horses and have decided to suspend you indefinitely until the details are discussed and understood,” Bill Mudd, president and COO of Churchill Downs Incorporated, said in a statement. «The safety of our equine and human athletes and the integrity of our sport is our highest priority. We believe these measures are our duty and responsibility.»
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Two other horses have died on the track in recent days. Take Charge Briana and Wild on Ice were euthanized after injuries, the latter of whom was set to run in the opening stage of the Triple Crown, but the cause of death for Saffie’s horses has not been revealed.
No horse trained by Joseph had died before Saturday.
Joseph said Thursday that investigators examined his stable, checked the horses’ veterinary records and took blood samples from each of his horses, which showed nothing abnormal. The feed, hay, straw and supplements used by the horses were also controlled.
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The Derby post time is 6:57 pm ET.
Associated Press contributed to this report.