Churchill Downs Fights to Keep PETA Proposal Away From Shareholders

PETA Defends Resolution Seeking Report on Synthetic Track That Would Save Horses’ Lives

For Immediate Release:
January 20, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Louisville, Ky. – This morning, PETA appealed to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to reject Churchill Downs, Inc.’s, attempt to quash its resolution requesting that the corporation report to shareholders on the feasibility of installing a high-quality synthetic track at its signature track in Louisville. PETA, which became a shareholder in the company in 2008, points to the racing industry’s own statistics showing that fewer broken bones and deaths occur on synthetic surfaces than on either dirt or turf.

Churchill Downs claims that shareholders should have no say in such “ordinary business.”

“There’s nothing ‘ordinary’ about horses dying on a dirt track when a safer surface is available,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “We’re simply asking the track to produce a simple report on the feasibility of making the lifesaving switch to a synthetic surface.”

Churchill Downs has improved its deadly record since 2019, when its death rate from catastrophic injuries was 50% higher than any other reporting track. According to The Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database, there were 1.19 fatal injuries per 1,000 starts on synthetic tracks vs. 1.94 such injuries on dirt tracks and 1.48 on turf.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind