Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. suspended from Churchill Downs, Lord Miles scratched from Derby

Lord Miles - Kentucky Derby 149 (2023)
Lord Miles - Kentucky Derby 149 (2023)(Coglianese Photography - Janet Garaguso/Kentucky Derby)
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 4:39 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. has been suspended from Churchill Downs indefinitely following the death of two horses over the past week at Churchill Downs.

The racetrack on Thursday announced Joseph’s indefinite suspension that will prohibit him or any other trainer directly or indirectly employed by the trainer to enter horses in races or apply for stalls at the track.

The announcement came moments after Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s Board of Stewards stated all horses trained by Joseph would be scratched effective immediately and until further notice.

This includes Derby contender Lord Miles, who was intended to run from post 19.

“This action is taken after consultation with Mr. Joseph, and includes Lord Miles who was entered into the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby,” the statement reads.

Joseph trained two of the four horses who died since Opening Night at Churchill Downs. Parents Pride died suddenly on Saturday, while Chasing Artie collapsed and died following Race 8 on Tuesday.

“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. “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.”

Earlier on Thursday, Joseph said he would not pull Lord Miles but had scratched all his horses that were connected to the two dead horses.

Still, the Animal Wellness Action called for stewards to further act following the two incidents.

“The guy who’s lost two horses not to breakdowns but to sudden deaths in the days before the Derby should not be allowed to put a third horse at risk,” Animal Wellness Action’s Wayne Pacelle said.

Churchill Downs has a number of rules that horsemen must follow in order to race, but only the state stewards can order a horse off a race.

This is a developing story.