A spokesman for Churchill Downs said the Louisville, Kentucky, track is gathering facts and conducting interviews in an effort to ascertain the circumstances leading to the death of a horse en route to the paddock for schooling prior to the first race on May 22.

According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, trainer Kenneth Wirth said the 5-year-old mare Never Tell Lynda reacted to the loud sound of the bell of a starting gate that was broadcast as part of a commercial on the new massive video screen over the track's loudspeaker system. Upon hearing the loud sound, Wirth said, the mare reared, twisted, and fell, apparently hitting her head on the ground.

"We teach horses to break from that," The Associated Press quoted Wirth as saying. '"And you've got it on a loud speaker that everybody in a two-city block can hear. Well, what's she going to do? She thinks she's supposed to take off. And that's what she did. And when she did, she lunged and she lost her balance and went down."

The Associated Press said the sound system includes 750 speakers.

Wirth shipped Never Tell Lynda from the Churchill training center for schooling in the paddock prior to the first race.

Wirth told the Courier-Journal that he initially did not believe Never Tell Lynda had hit her head, but then he saw that she was in distress. Members of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission's (KHRC) veterinary staff did not witness the incident but arrived shortly thereafter to euthanize the injured horse, the newspaper said.

"It was quickly evident that this hors