Jockey Club Releases Racing Fatality Data

More than a year after starting to collect data on equine racing fatalities, the Jockey Club has revealed preliminary analysis of the first year's data.

After the first Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in Kentucky in October 2006, the racing industry placed an emphasis on the protection of the health and welfare of competing horses. The first step in the process of examining and preventing injuries to racehorses was to collect data using the newly created Equine Injury Database. Collection of data began on November 1st 2008 and has since covered 378,864 horse starts at 73 participating racetracks.

Based upon the first year’s data, 2.04 fatalities were recorded per 1,000 race starters, meaning that approximately 0.2% of all horses that start races die of injuries sustained in the race. No data has been released on non-fatal injuries, and the Jockey Club has yet to comment on the data. The analysis was performed by Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom.

"Data collected from a broad cross-section of racetracks in the United States and Canada will serve as an important tool for racetracks setting benchmarks concerning the safety of racehorses," said Parkin. "Over time, as data continues to be added, the database should yield numerous trends and factors associated with racing injuries and lead to strategies for their prevention."

The Jockey Club, through two of its for-profit subsidiary companies, InCompass and The Jockey Club Technology Services Inc., has underwritten the cost to develop and operate the database as a service to the industry. By agreement with the participating racetracks, from time to time The Jockey Club may publish certain summary statistics from the Equine Injury Database, but "will not provide statistics that identify specific participants, including racetracks, horses or persons".

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