Churchill Downs Gives Central High School Pre-Veterinary Students an Inside Look at Equine Medicine through Critter Fixers Vet for a Day Program

LOUISVILLE, KY., (November 15, 2023) – Churchill Downs Racetrack (Churchill Downs) hosted 20 pre-veterinary students from Louisville’s Central High School as part of the Critter Fixers Vet for a Day program, to get an inside look at the world of Thoroughbred medicine on and off the track. Students were given an introduction to equine medicine with a behind the scenes tour of the Churchill Downs Equine Medical Center by Churchill Downs Incorporated’s (CDI) Equine Medical Director, Dr. Will Farmer. During their visit, students learned more about the historic racetrack, equine anatomy and the vital role veterinarians play in horseracing at Churchill Downs and racetracks across the United States.

Students were also given the chance to learn more about Thoroughbred Aftercare by visiting CDI Aftercare partner, Second Stride at Chorleywood Farm. During their visit, Thoroughbred Ambassador and 2011 Kentucky Derby participant Twinspired, allowed for an up-close look at a retired equine athlete. Dr. James Beckman, veterinarian for Second Stride, utilized Twinspired to illustrate how large animal veterinarians take x-rays, evaluate eye health and listen for heart health.

“We were thrilled to bring students from Central High School’s Veterinary Science program to Churchill Downs to learn about equine medicine from Dr. Farmer and to observe the Thoroughbreds in action on the track.” said Corlice Atkins, Executive Director for Critter Fixers Vet for a Day. “Although we’ve visited hospitals, schools and zoos across the country, we have never had the opportunity to learn from equine veterinarians, or to get up close and personal with horses. Our participants and staff had an amazing time and we can’t wait to do it again!”

The Critter Fixers Vet for a Day program creates a fun-filled, informative experience for every student. The program visits various cities, incorporating a wide variety of animal health professionals to speak about their career paths and introduce touchpoints into the professional world of veterinary medicine. Each student who participates is given a hands-on experience with activities ranging from observing lab treatments and performing lab testing to grooming the animal ambassadors and checking basic animal vitals. The program was created by Dr. Terrence Ferguson and Dr. Vernard Hodges, stars of Critter Fixers: Country Vets television show to support their belief that early introduction of veterinary medicine to children will foster more interest in the career path across young people of all backgrounds.

“The best part of my job is introducing young people to horseracing!” said Cathy Shircliff, Director of Equine Industry Relations for CDI. “The students of Central High School’s pre-veterinary program asked insightful questions and it was a treat to see them get hands-on experience with Second Stride Ambassador, Twinspired. On behalf of Churchill Downs Incorporated, I am so grateful to Critter Fixers Vet for a Day for allowing us the opportunity to host these future veterinarians and to Dr. Farmer and Dr. Beckman for showcasing different avenues of equine medicine.”

To learn more about Critter Fixers Vet for a Day program and how your student can apply, visit:

About Critter Fixers Vet for a Day

Established in 2019, Critter Fixers Vet for a Day is a dynamic program that came about to address the lack of diversity in the veterinary profession. While it is not built exclusively for minority children, it aims to bring awareness of the veterinary profession to children of color. Currently, only approximately 2% of veterinarians are African American, and Drs. Vernard Hodges and Terrence Ferguson are using their platform to try to change that. They believe that if children are introduced to the veterinary profession early on, they will be more likely to pursue that career path. More information is available at

About Churchill Downs Racetrack

Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”), the world’s most legendary racetrack, has been the home of The Kentucky Derby, the longest continually-held annual sporting event in the United States, since 1875. Located in Louisville, CDRT features a series of themed race days during Derby Week, including the Kentucky Oaks, and conducts Thoroughbred horse racing during three race meets in Spring, September and Fall. CDRT is located on 175 acres and has a one-mile dirt track, a 7/8-mile turf track, a stabling area and provides seating for approximately 60,000 guests. The saddling paddock and the stable area has barns sufficient to accommodate 1,400 horses and a 114-room dormitory for backstretch personnel. CDRT also has a year-round simulcast wagering facility.

About Churchill Downs Incorporated

Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) has been creating extraordinary entertainment experiences for nearly 150 years, beginning with the company’s most iconic and enduring asset, the Kentucky Derby. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, CDI has expanded through the development of live and historical racing entertainment venues, the growth of the TwinSpires horse racing online wagering business and the operation and development of regional casino gaming properties.