With Two Of His Horses Dropping Dead, Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. Should Not Be Allowed To Run Lord Miles In Saturday’s Kentucky Derby
Washington, D.C. — Animal Wellness Action today urged the management at Churchill Downs to deny a racing slot to Saffie Joseph Jr. because two of his horses — Parents Pride and Chasing Artie — died for unexplained reasons this week in the run-up to the Kentucky Derby.
“It would be reckless and wrong-headed to allow Saffie Joseph Jr. to put one more horse into competition at Churchill Downs,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. “Two horses he trained have dropped dead without explanation at Churchill Downs, and, in any fair assessment of his performance, he’s lost the privilege of running a horse in this year’s Derby.”
Lord Miles, trained by Joseph Jr., is slated to run in the 149th Kentucky Derby on May 6.
Churchill Downs called the series of four total deaths of horses this week “completely unacceptable” and declared “these troubling incidents are alarming and must be addressed.”
“If their words have practical applications, then Churchill Down must protect Lord Miles and keep him out of the starting gate and out of competition,” added Pacelle.
“As a native Louisvillian, I get the passion people here and across the country feel about this iconic race,” said Joseph Grove, director of public relations for Animal Wellness Action and host of the Animal Wellness podcast. “But the care of the horses must be our first priority, and this cluster of horse deaths is startling. Lamentations are not enough.”
The four deaths at Churchill Downs add to the total of 7,200 horses nationwide who have died from race injuries between 2009-2021, according to a database kept by the Jockey Club.
Last week, the FTC extended the deadline for race-day anti-doping standards to go into effect for Thoroughbred racing. In announcing the alarming move, the agency admitted to moving the deadline to prevent it from taking effect before the Triple Crown begins. Congress passed the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act in December 2020, and Congress amended the law to safeguard its provisions from a constitutional challenge in December 2022.