The Jockey Club today released an updated North American fatality rate for Thoroughbreds that includes three years’ worth of data collected in the Equine Injury DatabaseTM, the North American database for racing injuries.
Based on an analysis of 1,160,045 starts collected during the three-year period January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2011, the prevalence of race-related fatal injury was 1.91 per 1,000 starts. For individual years, the prevalence of fatal injury per 1,000 starts was 1.98 for 2009, 1.88 for 2010 and 1.88 for 2011.
Matt Iuliano, executive vice president and executive director of The Jockey Club, noted two changes in the reporting of these and future national benchmark statistics.
- Statistical updates now reflect data collected during the calendar year (January 1 through December 31)
- Only injuries that result in fatality within 72 hours or less from the date of race are included in the national figures
“Originally, Equine Injury Database reports were generated from November 1 through October 31 of the following year to coincide with the first full year of data from a significant number of participating tracks,” Iuliano said. “The Equine Injury Database has grown large enough that, with 93% of race days represented in the statistics, reporting was changed to a calendar-year basis to match other statistical reporting by The Jockey Club.”
In an effort to provide more uniformity in the national benchmarks, only race-related injuries that result in fatality within 72 hours or less from the date of race are included in the national figures. Previous statistical summaries included race-related injuries that resulted in fatality regardless of when the fatality occurred after the date of the race.
Under reporting parameters used in previous years, which included injuries that resulted in fatality more than 72 hours from the date of race, the prevalence of fatality per 1,000 starts would have been 2.05 in 2011.
“Continued growth of the database has shown variations among jurisdictions in follow-up reporting during the days and weeks after an injury was sustained, creating variation in the results,” Iuliano said. “We realize there are situations in which the outcome is not determined until much later than 72 hours after an incident, but our confidence level in reporting an accurate benchmark statistic is greatest when we utilize information available within 72 hours.”
Table 1 contains a three-year summary of statistics from the EID stratified by categories of age, sex, surface type and distance and Table 2 (also attached) contains a summary of the fatal injuries stratified by fatality date, from the date of the race until later than four weeks after the race.
The statistical analysis was once again performed by Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database.
“The addition of more than 379,000 starts to the database in year three enabled us to statistically validate certain trends seen in the data,” said Parkin. “The prevalence of fatality is not the result of a single variable in isolation but rather the simultaneous interaction of myriad variables contributing in concert to injury,” Parkin added.
“The Equine Injury Database continues to be a work in progress,” explained James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. “To fully recognize the enormous potential of the EID, we urge full participation of all racetracks in reporting injuries during racing and training hours. Currently, 93% of race days are represented in the race-related fatality statistics. Approximately half of the participating racetracks are also reporting injuries sustained during training hours.”
The Equine Injury Database contains a suite of reports for racetracks to analyze data collected at their respective facilities. In early March, The Jockey Club unveiled a new website that enables racetracks to make public their data in a standard, summary fashion. The website (jockeyclub.com/initiatives.asp?section=2) will be maintained by The Jockey Club.
Summaries of fatality statistics for a participating track include the year, number of race days, number of starts, age and sex of the horse, distance of the race and the surface on which the incident occurred.
A list of racetracks that have signed up to participate in the Equine Injury Database, including those who are now reporting their statistics publicly, can be found at
The Jockey Club, through two of its for-profit subsidiary companies, InCompass Solutions, Inc. and The Jockey Club Technology Services Inc., has underwritten the cost to develop and operate the Equine Injury Database as a service to the industry.