Seven horses died in the week leading up to the Kentucky Derby, casting a shadow over Saturday’s victory by a horse trained and ridden by Venezuelans.
Jockey Javier Castellano rode Mage to a first-place finish in the most prestigious horse race in the United States.
It was Castellano’s first Kentucky Derby win in 16 attempts. It was also the first for trainer Gustavo Delgado, also from Venezuela. But it was the culmination of an injury-plagued week.
Five horses died or were euthanized in the week leading up to the Derby. Two had the same trainer, who was suspended.
On race day, two more horses suffered leg injuries and had to be put down. They were ridden by the same jockey in separate races.
PETA, the animal rights group, called for the closure of the racetrack, Churchill Downs. The track said the incidents were unique and showed “no discernible pattern.”
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