Officials with the Equine Injury Database are seeking support from owners and trainers to start voluntarily reporting injuries to Thoroughbreds during training hours.
The EID, now in its second year, already has about 19,500 reports, Dr. Mary Scollay Ward, equine medical director for Kentucky, said Oct. 19. But the information is for fatal and non-fatal injuries that occur during racing hours.
Scollay Ward provided an EID update during the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s first Safety and Integrity Alliance Professional Education Seminar presented by Keeneland and Pfizer Animal Health. Aftercare of retired racehorses and continuing education for trainers were among the topics.
Scollay Ward said the reporting of injuries during training hours is vital to the EID objective.
“We have to find a way to start capturing this data,” she said. “It’s critical. We have an obligation to the public not just during racing. The more information we’ve got, the better answers we get.
“If the data is there you have to look at it. It requires a response.”
Information from 86 racetracks that account for 86% of starts in North America is contained in the EID. Reporting of injuries during training would allow for a study of the economic impact of such injuries, as well as their relation to catastrophic injuries suffered during racing, Scollay Ward said.
Collection of such data, however, is tricky. Therefore, EID officials are seeking trainers and owners that will agree to the reporting in an effort to get the program started.
“There can’t be negative consequences for the participants,” Scollay Ward said. “There has to be disconnect so we can afford people the ability to be candid.”
Racing injury data for individual tracks isn’t made public unless the tracks do so themselves. The information is compiled and examined in total to determine patterns and trends. A preliminary analysis of the first full year of data was released earlier this year.
The professional education seminar will be an ongoing project, NTRA president and chief executive officer Alex Waldrop said. It’s tied to the work of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, which was launched in late 2008 and is in its second year of accrediting racetracks under a code of standards.
“The intent is to make this an annual event,” Waldrop said. “We hope to see more people participate over time."