Keeneland: No evidence horse deaths linked to turf, track conditions

Published: Oct. 17, 2019 at 6:39 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A fourth horse died at Keeneland Wednesday. Integral suffered an injury during the sixth race.

With the increase in scrutiny on the horse industry, Keeneland is working to make racing safer.

So far in 2019, there have been eight horse fatalities. That is the most Keeneland has ever seen.

The director of racing surfaces at Keeneland says as far as the track goes they haven't been able to find any connection between the four deaths this meet.

The moisture level of the track at Keeneland is a big factor, and they use a device to monitor it throughout the day.

"We are doing that between each race just to give us more information to maintain the track in the best possible condition," said Director of Racing Surfaces Jim Pendergest.

After each of the horse deaths, this meet the track was checked for issues.

"We double-check everything to make sure we haven’t missed anything. So we go and check on moisture and depth levels and if it’s on the turf we used to going to stick which tells us the shear factor and the penetration factor," said Pendergest.

Over the summer they took up the dirt track to check the underlying surface. The dry weather was able to help them speed up the process.

"It was important to have dry weather. We were worried about any rain delay in and keeping the trainers off the main track for a longer period of time," said Pendergest.

Pendergest also said they are always looking to see what they can do better. That includes studying what happened in each of the injuries those horses suffered this meet.

"Each one was different, they haven’t been in the same places so we haven’t seen anything that indicates any issue in a certain location," said Pendergest.

There are seven days of racing left in this meet with the last one on Oct. 26.