A preliminary analysis of equine injury data over a one-year period shows 2.04 fatal injuries in Thoroughbreds per 1,000 starts, The Jockey Club said March 23.
It’s the first statistic released by The Jockey Club in relation to its Equine Injury Database, which was launched in 2008. The idea for the database came from the first Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in 2006.
The injury figure, in line with previous industry averages, is for 378,864 total starts in flat races at the 73 racetracks that submit information to the database. The sample period began Nov. 1, 2008.
The analysis was performed by Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow who serves as a consultant on the project. Parkin discussed the ongoing project during the 2009 University of Arizona Symposium on Racing and Gaming.
“Data collected from a broad cross-section of racetracks in the United States and Canada will serve as an important tool for racetracks seeking benchmarks concerning the safety of racehorses,” Parkin said in a statement. “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.”
Parkin has been involved in similar studies in Scotland, and last year indicated it will take time to analyze the data to look for trends. He is expected to further discuss the Equine Injury Database during the next Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit June 28-29 in Lexington.
Industry officials have said general data, not specific information related to racetracks, horses, or industry participants, will be released to the public.
Racetracks have tools provided by InCompass Solutions, a Jockey Club subsidiary, to analyze data collected at their respective facilities. In early April, InCompass will make available an enhanced module that automates selected reports.
“Analysis of data in the Equine Injury Database is ongoing,” Jockey Club executive vice president and executive director Matt Iuliano said.
In 2007, Dr. Mary Scollay, currently equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said the Equine Injury Database has three objectives: 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.
The Jockey Club said it has underwritten the cost to develop and operate the database as a service to the industry.
As of March 23, there are 81 racetracks submitting data, along with the National Steeplechase Association. A list of racetracks participating in the Equine Injury Database can be found at jockeyclub.com/initiatives.asp.