Horses die in consecutive races at Belmont Park

Two horses died over the weekend at Belmont Park within hours of the running of the Belmont Stakes.
Protestors stand outside an entrance gate with signs decrying the sport of horse racing.
Posted at 8:14 AM, Jun 12, 2023

Two horses are dead after injuries sustained in separate races following the Belmont Stakes in New York.

In the 13th and final race on Saturday, horse Excursionniste was euthanized. 

The Associated Press reported that Excursionniste pulled up in the far turn and had a catastrophic injury to its left front leg.” 

Little Blue Bird Stables reacted to the horse's fatal injury on Twitter within an hour of the incident.

"Devastated. There's just no other word. He was our big, goofy, talented, crazy, 1 for 16 NYB superstar. We do everything as a team, and will console as one for quite a while," the horse's owners said. "We'll miss ya, Ex. This group loves ya."

The next morning, the Associated Press reported that Mashnee Girl suffered a catastrophic injury in the quarter poll of the first race of the day.

Horses round the fourth turn during the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race.

Churchill Downs changes location of meet following horse deaths

Churchill Downs said its current horse card is suspended after an emergency meeting on horse deaths. Officials want to look at safety protocols.


The horses' deaths come as Churchill Downs, site of the annual Kentucky Derby, reported at least 12 horses have died so far this year. Races have been relocated through the rest of the month amid an internal investigation. 

Reacting to the death of Excursionniste, PETA placed blame on Belmont Park. 

"The racing industry is digging its own grave—as well as this horse's," PETA said in a statement.

PETA is calling on racing officials to conduct CT scans to screen for preexisting injuries before races. 

Both the final race on Saturday and the first race on Sunday were performed on turf tracks. Belmont Park has both a dirt and turf track. The Belmont Stakes was run Belmont's dirt track.

Horse Lord Miles trains for the Kentucky Derby days before being scratched.

Kentucky Derby trainer suspended after deaths of 2 of his horses

Another horse trained by Saffie Joseph Jr., Lord Miles, has been scratched from the Kentucky Derby out of concern for the horse's health.


Among the three most popular surfaces, dirt courses have the highest rate of fatal injuries, according to the Equine Injury Database.

In 2021, there were 1.51 fatal injuries for every 1,000 starts on dirt. On turf tracks, there were 1.25 fatal injuries per 1,000 starts. Synthetic turf had 0.75 fatal injuries per 1,000 starts, the Equine Injury Database reported.