News Releases

Wednesday, December 15, 2010Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326
The Jockey Club Releases Updated Statistics
from the Equine Injury Database

The Jockey Club today released an updated North American fatality rate for Thoroughbreds that includes two years’ worth of data in the Equine Injury Database, the North American database for racing injuries.

Based on an analysis of 754,932 starts collected during the two-year period November 1, 2008, through October 31, 2010, the prevalence of fatal injury declined to 2.00 per 1,000 starts, as compared to the 2.04 rate reported in March for the one-year period November 1, 2008, through October 31, 2009.

The analysis was performed by Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database.

Parkin noted that the change in the overall fatality rate stemmed from cumulative two-year data that revealed a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of fatality on both turf and synthetic surfaces versus dirt. The difference in the prevalence of fatality between synthetic and turf surfaces was not statistically significant.

“The addition of 376,000 starts to the database in year two enabled us to statistically validate certain trends seen in the data,” said Parkin. “Trends will continue to emerge and evolve as additional data becomes available for study and as more complex statistical analyses are performed. This will allow us to understand how different variables, alone and in concert, may impact the risk of fatality.”

Among other trends gleaned from Parkin’s analysis of the cumulative two-year data:

  • The prevalence of fatality in 2-year-olds continued to be significantly lower than older horses racing on dirt surfaces. However, on synthetic or turf surfaces, there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of fatality between 2-year-olds and older horses.
  • The prevalence of fatality continued to be unaffected by distance, weight carried and movement of races off the turf.
  • Fillies and mares competing in races that were open to horses of all sexes were not at an increased risk of fatality compared to those competing in races restricted to fillies and mares.
The following table presents the comparable fatality rates by surface type for the one-year and cumulative two-year periods beginning November 1, 2008.

Surface Type Nov. 1, 2008-
Oct. 31, 2009
Nov. 1, 2008-
Oct. 31, 2010
All 2.04 2.00
Dirt 2.14 2.14
Synthetic 1.78 1.55
Turf 1.78 1.74

“We will continue to publish these national benchmarks on an annual basis to provide the necessary statistical foundation participating racetracks need for monitoring and comparing their individual results,” said Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s executive vice president and executive director.

“Racetracks participating in the Equine Injury Database have an extensive menu of reporting tools and other resources available through the InCompass RTO system designed to assist management in developing safety initiatives aimed at reducing injuries to our equine athletes,” he added. “As the database continues to grow, we look forward to the additional information and statistical power it will yield to improve the health and safety of the racehorse.”

The Jockey Club, through two of its for-profit subsidiary companies, InCompass 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. By agreement with the participating racetracks, from time to time The Jockey Club may publish certain summary statistics from the Equine Injury Database, but will not provide statistics that identify specific participants, including racetracks, horses or persons. The Equine Injury Database contains a suite of reports for racetracks to analyze data collected at their respective facilities.

A list of racetracks that have signed up to participate in the Equine Injury Database can be found at

Please refer to the Analysis of the Equine Injury Database for additional detail.