Shop Talk: May/June 2021

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The rate of fatal injuries of Thoroughbred racehorses fell to an all-time low of 1.41 per 1,000 starts in 2020, according to an analysis of the Equine Injury Database.

Thoroughbred Racing Fatal Injury Rate Falls to an All-Time Low

The risk of fatal injury of Thoroughbred racehorses never has been lower, according to an annual analysis of data from more than 100 tracks in the United States and Canada.

The rate of fatal injury was 1.41 per 1,000 starts in 2020, a 7.8% decline from 2019 and a 29.5% drop since the Equine Injury Database (EID) started collecting data in 2009, The Jockey Club announced. Approximately 99.86% of flat racing starts at the 115 racetracks participating in the EID were completed without a fatality.

Although the study reveals a decrease in risk overall for the second consecutive year, it found a potential anomaly in a historically low-risk demographic. Two-year-old horses consistently have had the lowest incidence of racing fatalities since the inception of EID, yet there was a 43% increase over 2019 — from 1.18 per 1,000 starts to 1.69. During the same period, the fatality risks decreased for 3-year-olds from 1.7 to 1.57 (8% decline) and those that are 4 years and older from 1.5 to 1.29 (14% decline).

Fatality rates also declined to a new low on dirt surfaces to 1.49 per 1,000 starts. It’s all-time high was 2.11 in 2013. Races on grass were 19% lower (1.27 in 2020 vs. 1.56 in 2019) and the fourth-lowest since…

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