Churchill Downs hires equine medical director after horse deaths

POSTED ON  |  29-11-2019

William Farmer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Churchill Downs Inc. has hired an equine medical director after numerous horse deaths at tracks locally and across the country. The Louisville-based company said that Dr. William E. Farmer “will oversee equine safety and care” at all of its racetracks.

Farmer’s responsibilities include “the development of strategies to enhance the safety and integrity of racing and training at all CDI racetracks.” Farmer previously has worked as chief racing veterinarian at the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

CEO Bill Carstanjen said the company was excited to gain Farmer’s experience and proven leadership. “He will be an integral part of our strong and ongoing commitment to equine and jockey safety,” Carstanjen said.

The horse racing industry has been the subject of media and government scrutiny recently because of the spike in horse deaths at tracks. Two horses died at Churchill Downs in September. Five horses died at Keeneland during the fall meet. More than 30 horses have died in the last year at Santa Anita Park, Calif. Churchill Downs has announced a slew of safety initiatives this year, including the phase-out of Lasix, a drug that stops horses from bleeding during intense workouts. In April, CDI announced plans for an $8 million equine medical center in Louisville.

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