LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two more horses were euthanized during the lead-up to Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, raising the death toll to seven, officials said.
Freezing Point suffered a left ankle injury in the Pat Day Mile race on Saturday at Churchill Downs and was euthanized, trainer Joe Lejzerowicz told The Associated Press. He said that Fort Bragg, who finished third, drifted over and slammed into Freezing Point during the race.
“He just got bumped in the backstretch,” Lejzerowicz said. “He never took a bad step or bobble. He had a big heart.”
Earlier, Chloe’s Dream, a 3-year-old gelding, was put down during Saturday’s second race at Churchill Downs due to a right front knee injury, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The incident came hours before the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby at the famed track.
Jockey Corey Lanerie was rounding the first turn 23 seconds into the race when Chloe’s Dream pulled up, according to the newspaper.
The horse was taken off in an equine ambulance, trainer Jeff Hiles confirmed to The Associated Press.
“He just took a bad step out there,” Hiles said. “They could do the same thing running in the field as they could on the track. So it’s very unfortunate. That’s what we deal with.”
“Chloe’s Dream sustained an injury from which he could not recover, and for humane reasons, was euthanized,” Churchill Downs said in a statement. “He will be transported to the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostics Lab for a complete necropsy.”
The death of Chloe’s Dream comes after five other horses died during a nine-day span, the Courier Journal reported. One died in the paddock area, one during a race on the turf track, two after turf races and one after a morning training session on the dirt track.
Two of them were trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., who was suspended by the track, according to The Associated Press. Joseph’s entry for the Derby, Lord Miles, was scratched from Saturday’s race.
Take Charge Briana, a 3-year-old filly, had a “catastrophic” injury on Tuesday while taking part in the fifth race on the Churchill Downs turf. She had to be euthanized, WHAS-TV reported. Chasing Artie, a 5-year-old gelding that was trained by Joseph, collapsed after the eighth race and died.
Wild on Ice was euthanized nine days ago, according to WDRB-TV.