Stop String of Suspicious Deaths and Allegedly Pervasive Abuse in Horse Racing

Target: Chuck Schumer, U.S. Senate Majority Leader

Goal: Support stronger regulations of horse racing industry to better protect active and retired racehorses.

The most recent Kentucky Derby will likely not be remembered for its winner and its roll call of racehorses but rather for its roll call of the dead: Wild On Ice, Code of Kings, Take Charge Briana, Chasing Artie, Chloe’s Dream, Freezing Point, and Parents Pride. Altogether, seven horses—all under five years of age–died in the run-up to or on the day of the Derby. Their causes of death ranged from injury to unknown causes. At least one suspension has resulted, but where is the greater accountability?

Young animals involved in horse racing have a notoriously high mortality rate, even as the average horse lifespan can reach 30 years. The horse that won the Kentucky Derby in 2021 was later stripped of the title due to suspected drugging, and that horse died suddenly a short time later. Suspicions about the treatment of racehorses have plagued venues from Churchill Downs to the notorious Santa Anita racetrack. And at least one Racing Hall of Fame inductee has been the subject of multiple suspensions and accusations stemming from a PETA investigation of abuse and drugging during training.

A stronger regulatory organization might begin setting things right for these vulnerable animals, as would passage of a bill to ban the slaughter of retired racehorses. Sign the petition below to advocate for these essential actions.


Dear Senator Schumer,

The gold standard of horse racing—the Kentucky Derby—is becoming more synonymous with tragedy and controversy than with Triple Crowns.  This year, the roster of dead horses nearly outnumbered the starting lineup. When will this narrative change?

The development of the Horserace Integrity and Safety Authority by Congressional order was a step in the right direction, but this measure still has too many loopholes and a lack of real enforcement. For context, Churchill Downs—the site of this year’s spate of deaths—was said to be “in full compliance.” Congress needs to send this agency back to the drawing board so that it can be “in full compliance” with its own objectives. And legislators can enact another important safeguard for horses once they leave the racetrack by passing the Save America’s Forgotten Equines Act, which would help prevent the needless slaughter of these prized animals for the sake of a few saved dollars.

The horse racing industry makes untold amounts of money off the backs of these animals. Please show Americans that you do not support profiteering from pain and cruelty by passing integral protections at once.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Kentucky Tourism


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