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Dec 17, 2010

The Jockey Club reports drop in thoroughbred fatalities


New York, NY (Sports Network) - Thoroughbred racing deaths show a slight decline during the last two years as reported by The Jockey Club on Wednesday. The two-year period ran from November 1, 2008, through October 31, 2010.

The Jockey Club, through the Equine Injury Database, disclosed that the prevalence of fatal injury declined to 2.00 per 1,000 starts, as compared to the 2.04 rate reported for the one-year period from November 1, 2008 to October 31, 2009. The new statistics cover 754,932 starts.

"The addition of 376,000 starts to the database in year two enabled us to statistically validate certain trends seen in the data," said Dr. Tim 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."

Dr. Parkin is a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database.

While there was no statistical difference in the prevalence of fatality between synthetic and turf surfaces, Dr. Parkin noted the two-year data revealed a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of fatality on both turf and synthetic surfaces versus dirt.

The fatality rate on dirt tracks is 2.14 per 1,000 starts during the two-year period. The rate for synthetic surfaces is 1.55 per 1,000 starts and 1.74 on turf (grass) courses.

"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.

Other trends gathered from Dr. Parkin's analysis of the cumulative two-year data:

The prevalence of fatality in two-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 two-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.

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