Horse racing regulatory officials call ’emergency summit’ following 12 horse deaths at Churchill Downs

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CNN
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Horse racing regulatory and safety officials as well as representatives from Churchill Downs will gather in an emergency meeting Tuesday following a tragic series of horse deaths at the famed home of the Kentucky Derby over the span of two months.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) said Monday it was “deeply concerned by the unusually high number” of horse deaths at Churchill Downs and has called an “emergency veterinary summit” Tuesday which will include members from Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to review all available information related to the deaths.

Twelve horses have died since the stable area reopened for training on March 30, Churchill Downs said in a statement. The track announced the two most recent horse deaths Saturday, saying the horses suffered significant injuries and were euthanized.

HISA also said it is conducting a “thorough and independent investigation” into each horse death and is also dispatching experts to analyze Churchill Downs’ racing and training surfaces and provide additional veterinary expertise.

“HISA continues to monitor this situation closely and will evaluate any additional next steps as appropriate,” its statement added.

Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen said “Churchill Downs respects the authority of HISA and their investigatory process. We have worked in full compliance with HISA regulations over the last several weeks and welcome the additional steps they have outlined today.”

“Together we all want what is best for the horses and participants and we will cooperate with any measures to ensure the safest racing environment possible and to restore the trust and confidence of our fans and the public,” Carstanjen’s statement added.

A spokesperson for Churchill Downs told CNN the emergency summit will take place at the HISA headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.

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