Welfare and Safety Summit Racehorse Injury Numbers Revised

The catastrophic injury rates presented by Mary Scollay, DVM, at the March 17  Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit have been revised after a thorough review.

The review established that the catastrophic injury reports actually covered longer periods of time with more races and total starts than was previously reported. In addition, further review and follow-up on the individual catastrophic injury reports provided a more accurate number of fatalities on both dirt and synthetic surfaces.

"The revised statistics are based upon injury reports from a limited number of racetracks (34) and represent a reporting period of less than one year at some racetracks," Scollay reported. "Therefore, it is important to remember that these fatality rates are just a snapshot in time from a less than statistically significant number of tracks, and cannot be considered scientifically conclusive at this point.

"However, I would like to report that after a thorough review, the fatality rates I reported at the summit last month should have been 1.47 fatalities per 1,000 starts for synthetic surfaces and 2.03 fatalities per 1,000 starts for dirt tracks," Scollay said.

"As we said when this project was announced in May 2007, the goal of the injury reporting project is threefold: to identify the frequency, type and outcome of racing injuries using a standardized format that will generate valid composite statistics; to develop a centralized epidemiologic database that could be used to identify markers for horses at increased risk of injury; and to serve as a data source for research directed at improving safety and preventing injuries."

Central to the system is a standardized form, created by Scollay and a group of participating regulatory and track veterinarians following the original summit. This form is now being used at 48 racetracks. In addition, InCompass Solutions has developed the necessary tools and created a database that enables track veterinarians to electronically submit injury reports from participating racetracks. The database will become operational in the next couple of months.

"I am proud of what the On-Track Injury Reporting System has accomplished to date, and I sincerely believe that the continued collection of this information is vital for the industry," Scollay concluded.

Both editions of the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit were coordinated and underwritten by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club, and were hosted by the Keeneland Association.

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