Horse trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has been suspended from Churchill Downs indefinitely after two of his horses died suddenly at the racetrack within the last few days – with the suspension comes the scratch of Joseph’s Lord Miles from the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.
Joseph was the trainer of Parents Pride and Chasing Artie. Both horses collapsed and died on the track Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, after races.
“Given the unexplained sudden deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses, and decided to suspend him indefinitely until details are analyzed and understood,” Bill Mudd, president and chief operating officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated, said in a statement. “The safety of our equine and human athletes and integrity of our sport is our highest priority. We feel these measures are our duty and responsibility.”
Two other horses have died at the track in recent days. Take Charge Briana and Wild on Ice were both euthanized after injuries, the latter of which was set to run in the first leg of the Triple Crown, but no cause of death have been revealed for Saffie’s horses.
No horses trained under Joseph had died prior to Saturday.
Joseph said earlier Thursday that investigators examined his barn, checked the horses’ veterinary records and took blood samples from each of his horses, which showed nothing abnormal. The feed, hay, straw and supplements used by the horses were checked, too.
Post time for the Derby is 6:57 p.m. ET.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.