Rate of Fatal Thoroughbred Racing Injuries Declines Again

Rate of Fatal Thoroughbred Racing Injuries Declines Again

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

An analysis of data from the Equine Injury Database (EID) has revealed a reduction in the fatal injury rate in Thoroughbred racehorses for a fourth consecutive year and a 23% drop since 2009, The Jockey Club announced March 10.

When comparing 2016 statistics to 2015 statistics across all surfaces, ages, and distances, the rate dropped from 1.62 per 1,000 starts in 2015 to 1.54 per 1,000 starts in 2016. The overall rate of 1.54 per 1,000 starts is the lowest since the EID started publishing annual statistics in 2009.

Statistical Summary, 2009 to 2016, for Thoroughbreds

Calendar Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Fatal Injury Rate 2.00 1.88 1.88 1.92 1.90 1.89 1.62 1.54

 

Tim Parkin, BSc, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ECVPH, MRCVS, a veterinarian, epidemiologist, and EID consultant from the University of Glasgow, in Scotland, once again performed the analysis.

"One of the primary objectives of this project from the outset was to build a comprehensive data source we could utilize to improve safety and prevent injuries, and we are now clearly achieving that goal," said Parkin. "The racetracks, the horsemen, and the regulators who have implemented safety initiatives over this time period deserve a great deal of credit for this encouraging trend."

On dirt, the injury rate has dropped 19% since 2009. On turf, the injury rate has dropped 44% since 2009. The injury rate on synthetic surfaces has remained stable since 2010, hovering in the 1.0 to 1.2 per 1,000 starts range, Parkin said.

Find a graph depicting all updated statistical data pertaining to surface, distance, and age at jockeyclub.com/pdfs/eid_8_year_tables.pdf.

"The sport, as a collective entity, has made a sustained difference that should serve as motivation to continue the search for new safety and welfare initiatives and to permanently eliminate the usage of 'part of the game' from the lexicon when discussing equine injuries," said Mary Scollay, DVM, the equine medical director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and an EID consultant.

The EID statistics are based on injuries that resulted in fatalities within 72 hours from the date of the race. The statistics are for Thoroughbreds only and exclude races over jumps from the calculations. Summary statistics for the EID are subject to change due to a number of considerations, including reporting timeliness.

Since March 2012, racetracks have been able to voluntarily publish their statistics from the EID in the Safety Initiatives section of The Jockey Club website. There are 25 tracks that self-reported during 2016 and their aggregate rate was 1.41. Find the list of racetracks participating in the EID and detailed statistics from those tracks that voluntarily publish their results at jockeyclub.com/default.asp?section=Advocacy&area=11.

Throughout the course of 2017, racetracks accounting for approximately 96% of flat racing days are expected to contribute data to the EID.

The Jockey Club launched the EID, conceived at the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation's first Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, in July 2008 and seeks to identify the frequencies, types, and outcomes of racing injuries using a standardized format that generates valid statistics, identifies markers for horses at increased risk of injury, and serves as a data source for research directed at improving safety and preventing injuries.

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