Fatal injuries in Thoroughbred racehorses declined for a fourth consecutive year in 2016, according to the Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database.
Fatal injuries have decreased 23 percent since 2009.
When comparing 2016 statistics to 2015 statistics across all surfaces, ages, and distances, the rate dropped from 1.62 per 1,000 starts in 2015 to 1.54 per 1,000 starts in 2016. The overall rate of 1.54 per 1,000 starts is the lowest since the Equine Injury Database started publishing annual statistics in 2009.
Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database, once again performed the analysis.
“One of the primary objectives of this project from the outset was to build a comprehensive data source we could utilize to improve safety and prevent injuries, and we are now clearly achieving that goal,” said Dr. Parkin. “The racetracks, the horsemen, and the regulators who have implemented safety initiatives over this time period deserve a great deal of credit for this encouraging trend.”
On dirt, there has been a 19 percent drop since 2009.
On turf, there has been a 44 percent drop since 2009.
The rate on synthetic surfaces, according to Parkin, has remained stable since 2010, hovering in the 1.0 to 1.2 per 1,000 starts range.
“The sport, as a collective entity, has made a sustained difference that should serve as motivation to continue the search for new safety and welfare initiatives and to permanently eliminate the usage of ‘part of the game’ from the lexicon when discussing equine injuries,” said Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a consultant to the EID.