Horse racing fatalities declined in 2015

The number of thoroughbred racing fatalities has improved to its lowest level in seven years. – HfH

The number of thoroughbred racing fatalities has improved to its lowest level in seven years, according to a new report released by The Jockey Club.

The Equine Injury Database shows that there were 99 fewer racing deaths over the past year as the total number of U.S. fatalities decreased to 484 in 2015 compared to 583 the previous year.

New York also has seen a decrease in racing fatalities. According to data from the state Gaming Commission, a total of 31 deaths last year, down from 49 in 2014.

While part of the overall decline is due to a decrease in the number of races and a smaller number of horses being bred, there also are fewer deaths based on the number of horses that enter each race.

In 2009, the first year that data was collected, there were two fatalities for every 1,000 starts. That number improved to 1.89 deaths for every 1,000 starts in 2014. Last year, there were 1.62 deaths for every 1,000 starts.

The decline in racing deaths also is likely a result of new safety initiatives undertaken by U.S. tracks, said Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database.

“The wide-ranging safety initiatives embraced by tracks, horsemen and regulators in recent years have very likely played a role in the reduction of injuries and fatalities,” Parkin said.

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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
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