Safety from start to finish
Churchill Downs Racetrack reinforces its commitment to its program of Safety from Start to Finish before each racing season. This year, Churchill Downs track and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) teamed up to mandate protocols for horses competing in the Kentucky Derby and other races. Following are some of those protocols:
- KHRC veterinarians will closely monitor and observe horses competing in the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks before, during, and after training, as well as in their stalls.
- A KHRC veterinarian will be present trackside at all times when horses have access to the track.
- Pre-race examinations will be done by KHRC veterinarians on race day. In-stall examinations include a general health evaluation, and palpation and flexion of the forelimbs. Veterinarians also will observe horses out of their stalls, at a trot, to further assess soundness and fitness to race.
- A team of 8 KHRC veterinarians and Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital volunteers will be positioned around the racetrack in case immediate response is required. Three KHRC veterinarians will be in the paddock when horses are saddled for the Kentucky Derby (2 for all other races).
- Three state-of-the-art Kimzey equine ambulances will be positioned at the 1-mile chute, quarter pole, and backstretch.
- A board-certified veterinary surgeon and veterinary anesthesiologist will be present for immediate critical care response, with the Equine Medical Triage Center open for patient evaluation and preparation for transport as needed.
For a complete listing of other safety measures, including for jockeys, and general racing integrity, visit