LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Keeneland and Churchill Downs on Thursday jointly announced major changes in racing and training policies to strengthen safety protocols at both racetracks.
The racetracks say reforms include mandatory veterinary inspections prior to workouts and race entry and enhanced reporting and transparency requirements for trainers and attending veterinarians with regard to the fitness of horses to work and race.
They say these reforms also apply to horses stabled at Keeneland’s The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington and the Churchill Downs Training Center in Louisville.
Officials say in a significant step to promote integrity in racing, Keeneland and Churchill Downs will ban the race-day use of Lasix in all 2-year-old races beginning with Keeneland’s 2020 Spring Meet and following at Churchill Downs Racetrack’s 2020 Spring Meet.
Kentucky’s Thoroughbred race tracks supported sweeping medication reforms, including the Lasix ban, adopted by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) in late 2019.
Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason and Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said in a joint statement: “These meaningful reforms further advance our commitment to create the safest possible environment for racing and training. Race tracks, horsemen and the veterinary community share a responsibility for the welfare of our human and equine athletes and to promote the sport for generations of fans to come.”
According to officials, changes will become effective with the opening of the stable areas at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. Trainers and attending veterinarians must agree to the following conditions in order to participate in the racing programs at either track:
- A trainer is not permitted to enter a horse in any race unless the horse has been found fit to race by the attending veterinarian during the three days immediately prior to entry, and
- A trainer is not permitted to work a horse unless the horse has been found fit to work by the attending veterinarian during the five days immediately before the work.
Trainers and attending veterinarians are obligated to inform the equine medical director at the appropriate race track and the KHRC of any changes in a horse’s fitness after an examination has been conducted.
Additionally, all horses at Keeneland and Churchill Downs will be subject to veterinary inspections by the tracks’ respective equine medical directors and to veterinary monitoring.