Injury Data Reveals Trends In Thoroughbred Racing Fatalities

An average of two fatal injuries occur each day at Thoroughbred racetracks, a conclusion that came out of preliminary data recently released from The Jockey Club’s equine injury database.

Over a 12-month period starting in November 2009, 2.04 fatal injuries were recorded per 1,000 race starts. This conclusion was based on a total of 378,864 total starts in Thoroughbred races held at 73 tracks that participated in the national database. This statistic is the first of its kind, since fatalities in racing fatalities were previously recorded only by individual racing commissions. 

In July 2008, The Jockey Club launched the database after a 1-year pilot program. The goal was to identify the frequency, types and outcomes of racing injuries using a standardized format that identifies markers for horses with increased injury risk and serves as a data source for safety research.

Tim Parkin, a research fellow at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, offered several conclusions from the first year’s data at the late June meeting of the Welfare And Safety Of The Racehorse Summit in Lexington, Ky.

  • Females are not at greater risk of fatality when racing against males.
  • There is no statistically significant difference in the risk of fatality for different track surfaces.
  • There is no increase of risk in races that are taken off the turf at the last minute.
  • Fillies and mares are 50% less likely to suffer injuries than males.
  • 2-year-old horses are 30% less likely to break down fatally than older horses.

As of June…

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