HISA Watchdog Statement to Press

Kentucky Racing Commission and Churchill Downs Answer Animal Wellness Action’s Call to Scratch horses trained by Saffie Joseph Jr.

With Two of His Horses Dropping Dead, Churchill Downs is Right to Not Allow Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. to Run Lord Miles and Any Other Horses in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby

Louisville, D.C. — Animal Wellness Action this morning had urged the management at Churchill Downs to deny a Kentucky Derby 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.

Late this afternoon the Kentucky Racing Commission and Churchill Downs took proper and appropriate action and scratched all horses trained by Joseph Jr. for the competition. 

Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action has issued this statement:

“We commend the Kentucky racing officials for suspending Saffie Joseph Jr. for the inexplicable deaths of horses under his care. It will now be up to leaders in the horse racing industry to address the wider set of risk factors that are causing far too many deaths in racing. Racetracks are turning into crash sites.”

 Lord Miles, trained by Joseph Jr., was slated to run in the 149th Run for the Roses Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Four deaths at Churchill Downs add to the total of 7,200 horses nationwide who have died owing to 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.

Originally published on Animal Wellness Action

Animal Wellness Action (Action) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) organization with a mission of helping animals by promoting legal standards forbidding cruelty. We champion causes that alleviate the suffering of companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. We advocate for policies to stop dogfighting and cockfighting and other forms of malicious cruelty and to confront factory farming and other systemic forms of animal exploitation. To prevent cruelty, we promote enacting good public policies and we work to enforce those policies. To enact good laws, we must elect good lawmakers, and that’s why we remind voters which candidates care about our issues and which ones don’t. We believe helping animals helps us all.

The Center for a Humane Economy (“the Center”) is a non-profit organization that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.

The Animal Wellness Foundation (Foundation) is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.