So Far, Fewer Fatal Injuries With New Track Surfaces

Based on preliminary data compiled from fatality reports from regulatory veterinarians at racetracks, there appears to be fewer fatal injuries with synthetic track surfaces than dirt.

Mary Scollay, the track veterinarian at Florida’s Gulfstream Park and Calder Race Course, reported these findings during the second Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit held in mid-March in Lexington, Ky.

In her original report, there were 244 fatalities from 123,890 starters on dirt, a ratio of 1.96 fatalities per 1,000 starts. For tracks with synthetic surfaces, 58 fatalities occurred in 29,744 starts resulting in a 1.95 ratio per 1,000 starts. The research study with track veterinarians was funded by The Jockey Club.

However, a revised analysis of the figures based on only 34 racetracks in mid-April revealed a considerable difference between track surfaces. It showed an average of 2.02 fatalities per 1,000 starts on dirt and 1.47 fatalities on synthetic surfaces.

“The revised statistics were based on injury reports from a limited number of racetracks and represent a reporting period of less than 1 year at some tracks,” says Scollay. “Therefore, it is important to remember these fatality rates are just a snapshot in time from a less-than-statistically-significant number of tracks and cannot be considered scientifically conclusive.”

In a related matter, KB Horseshoes of Grover Beach, Calif., is partnering with Anvil Brand Shoe Co. of Lexington, Ill., and Kentucky farriers Steve Norman, Hans Albrecht and Mitch Taylor to conduct slow motion video reviews to evaluate the effects of the new TS-series KB…

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