'They've Done It To Try To Save Their Image': Saffie Joseph Says He's A 'Scapegoat' For Churchill's Equine Fatalities - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘They’ve Done It To Try To Save Their Image’: Saffie Joseph Says He’s A ‘Scapegoat’ For Churchill’s Equine Fatalities

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.

Following the sudden deaths of two horses from the barn of trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. over the first two days of racing at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission ultimately decided to scratch all remaining horses entered by the Florida-based conditioner, including his Kentucky Derby entrant Lord Miles. Churchill followed that up with an announcement that Joseph has been indefinitely suspended from entering horses at CDI-owned tracks.

On Friday, Joseph told WDRB he believes the actions were taken to distract from the other three equine fatalities that have occurred at Churchill over the past week.

“Most definitely I am a scapegoat,” Joseph told WDRB. “I'm the scapegoat. They've had more deaths this week, and here is Saffie, this is the problem. Trust me, it's hard enough that our horses have their issues. But the reality of it is that I run 3,800 horses in the races, and I've never had horses that die from that issue before. They've had injuries but never from something that was unknown. It's unknown what caused it. The tests for the first one hasn't shown anything. I mean, the results with all the bloods, we haven't seen anything, so we don't know what's going on. They don't know what's going on. And the commission doesn't know what's going on. The commission has found nothing wrong so far. I mean, people all can attest, and here we are with no known answers. and yet Churchill issues this suspension. It's like, how could you do that? I mean, how can you do that? It's one reason — they've done it to try to save their image. I mean, it's sad.”

“Sudden death” means that the horse's cause was not immediately apparent and did not seem to be due to external trauma or musculoskeletal injury.

Joseph trainee Parents Pride collapsed and died after failing to finish a race on April 29, and Chasing Artie suffered a similar fate after finishing last, beaten 28 ¾ lengths, in a May 2 turf sprint. Joseph trained the horses for Ken Ramsey.

Read our reporting about those two fatalities, and the challenges with diagnosing sudden deaths here.

“Given the unexplained sudden deaths, we have reasonable concerns about the condition of his horses, and decided to suspend him indefinitely until details are analyzed and understood,” Bill Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of CDI, said in a statement released Thursday. “The safety of our equine and human athletes and integrity of our sport is our highest priority. We feel these measures are our duty and responsibility.”

Joseph had seven horses entered for Saturday, May 6, including Kentucky Derby runner Lord Miles, G1 Churchill Downs runner White Abarrio, and G1 Turf Classic runner Master Piece.

Read more at WDRB.

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