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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Are the new speakers at Churchill Downs too loud? One local trainer says the volume of the speakers played a factor in a tragic accident at the track.
Kenny Wirth grew up at Churchill Downs his dad was a trainer and his brothers were jockeys, but he said some of the recent improvements at the track are making it dangerous for the horses.
Thursday morning Wirth was schooling Never Tell Lynda, a 5-year-old mare, when a loud commercial came on, amplified by the 750 new speakers at the track.
Wirth said the horse was spooked, flipped over and hit her head. She was euthanized on the track.
"We teach these horses to break from that bell and everything and they're blasting it over the thing as they're walking over and coming back. They've been asking them to turn it down and that and they just refuse to turn the music and that down, cause they can just see it in the horses going nuts and stuff," he said.
Churchill Downs Senior Director of Communications Darren Rogers released a statement to WAVE 3 News Thursday afternoon that read:
"The Churchill Downs Racetrack family is overcome and saddened by Never Tell Lynda's tragic schooling accident Thursday afternoon. It's heartbreaking, and we know how much these horses mean to the people who love and care for them. This was an extremely rare schooling accident and losing a competitor like Never Tell Lynda is never easy or acceptable. Our thoughts and prayers are with her connections, and we extend our deepest sympathy to trainer Kenny Wirth and everyone at the stable for their loss. We're currently gathering facts and talking with people about what might have led to Never Tell Lynda's accident on the way to the paddock prior to the first race. The health and safety of our human and equine athletes remains our highest priority."
Wirth was clearly upset, but said his main objective is to make sure something positive comes out of the horse's death.
He also said he feels like decisions are being made without the best interests of the horses in mind