NewsCovering Kentucky


Rider, Colt Die In Training Accident At Churchill Downs

Posted at 12:00 PM, Nov 10, 2018

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — An exercise horse rider was killed Saturday morning at Churchill Downs when he was thrown by his horse, officials with the racetrack said.

According to a news release, 42-year-old Odanis Acuna died in a training accident about 5:45 a.m.

Officials said Acuna was riding 2-year-old New York Harbor when the colt collapsed near the finish line. The horse was euthanized.

The news release says onside medical help rushed to the scene to aid Acuna but “believe he died instantly.”

“Today is a somber day,” Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery said in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathy to Odanis’ family, friends, colleagues and the entire team at trainer Kenny McPeek’s barn. Our hearts are with them in this difficult time of extreme sorrow.”

Acuna was a trainer for Kenny McPeek and was known as “Cuba.”

“Odanis was one of the hardest working guys you’d ever meet; he was working the American dream,” said McPeek, who employed Acuna for nearly a decade. “He galloped for me in the morning and worked for the feed company in the afternoon.”

Training was suspended for the rest of the morning at the track and a moment of silence was planned for 12:30 p.m. ahead of races.

Funeral arrangements are pending.