Churchill Downs Excludes Broberg After Track Says He Failed To Properly Care For Injured Horse - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Churchill Downs Excludes Broberg After Track Says He Failed To Properly Care For Injured Horse

Karl Brobeg, with jockey C.J. McMahon, wearing silks promoting the trainer’s Twitter account (photo from Broberg’s Twitter feed)

Churchill Downs has revoked stalls from trainer Karl Broberg and banned him from the entry box at its parent company's racetracks after an incident involving a voided claim. Broberg owns and trains 5-year-old gelding Rockandahardplace, who contested the second race on Churchill's Sept. 18 card.

The Kentucky track released the following statement to the Paulick Report on Sept. 24:

On the night of Sept. 18, Karl Broberg's Rockandahardplace finished sixth of seven in a $10,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs. A claim for the 5-year-old gelding was voided after the race by rule when the horse was declared lame by a KHRC veterinarian at the test barn. The horse was returned to his stall by a paid hotwalker, but a subsequent investigation revealed that there was no responsible representative of the trainer on-site to make veterinary decisions or to take appropriate steps to protect the welfare of the injured horse. As a result of Karl Broberg's failure to properly care for the horse, Churchill Downs Incorporated has indefinitely revoked his stalling and entry privileges at all Churchill Downs Incorporated properties effective immediately.

“Churchill Downs and the horse racing industry is committed to improving accountability when it comes to horse safety and racing integrity. We place the highest priority on the health, welfare and safety of our equine and human athletes, and we expect the same from people who race and train at any of our facilities.

“Rockandahardplace did receive basic veterinary care on the night of Sept. 18. The following day, the horse was transported from Churchill Downs to a private farm for long-term care.”

Rockandahardplace has a record of six wins from 40 starts, with one win from 12 starts so far in 2021. Prior to the Sept. 18 race, the gelding had started Sept. 9 in an allowance contest at Remington Park, where he finished third.

For his part, Broberg disputes Churchill's assertion that he did not have proper care available to the horse.

“I am obviously appalled by the insinuation through the CD press release that Rockandahardplace was improperly cared for,” Broberg told Paulick Report publisher Ray Paulick via email. “Rockandahardplace was evaluated and treated with bute and banamine following the race by a licensed veterinarian at our request. He was correctly diagnosed as having a medial sesamoid fracture which x-rays confirmed the following morning. He was sent to a farm the following morning to recover and we can happily report aside from the injury he is in perfect health.

“We have kept the steward's office at Churchill apprised of his well-being.”

Broberg said that Churchill officials seemed focused on the fact the horse's injured leg was not wrapped or placed in a cast overnight after the race, but said wrapping wouldn't have been effective for a suspected sesamoid fracture. The horse was left in the Churchill receiving barn because he was too sore to step onto the trailer to make the trip back to the training center. He said the gelding is now at a facility in Bedford, Ky., and is sedated on stall rest under the care of a veterinarian. He expects Rockandahardplace will need at least six months off, and will then be evaluated for a return to racing or a start of a new career.

The trainer told the Paulick Report he was surprised CDI had taken this action against him and insisted there must be more to the story than the incident with Rockandahardplace. It's true, he said, that he did not keep his stalls at Churchill's training facility full and that he had been interested in claiming horses there. He also pointed out that Kentucky stewards had initially made contact with him and suggested they were conducting their own investigation into whether his actions constituted animal cruelty; he has since been informed by the stewards that they are satisfied and do not plan on issuing any ruling in the case.

“I don't understand how this has become what it currently is,” he said. “It just makes no sense to me whatsoever … they still haven't asked me any of the questions they should have asked. They didn't even get my side.

“Meanwhile they have [Marcus] Vitali at Presque Isle like nothing's wrong in the world. It just doesn't make sense to me … there has to be more to this.”

Broberg said he believes he's usually top ten in starters at the Fair Grounds meet, and plans to fight any attempt to ban him from the entry box there.

Broberg has been ranked first or second in North American trainer standings by wins each year since 2013, and has amassed 4,119 victories from 17,091 starts since he began training in 2009. His business model depends on keeping strings of horses in multiple states and relies heavily on claiming races. He is currently ranked ninth in North America by earnings and second by wins.

Broberg has also been a controversial figure at times, having been excluded from Remington Park in 2013 after The Jockey Club suspended privileges from him for having four medication violations in close succession. Broberg fought the Remington ban in court and was ultimately allowed back, but saw his stalls revoked again in 2020. More recently, the trainer spoke out about testing issues in Louisiana, where the state's laboratory detected found three drugs, including a Class 1 substance, in a post-race sample from one of his horses. Split sample testing was negative for all three substances.

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