JC / Railbird

2.04 per 1000

On first reading, I thought there was an error in the headline of the press release: “Equine Injury Database Statistic Released by The Jockey Club.” But no, the Jockey Club did release just one statistic, and it is a sobering figure:

Based upon a year’s worth of data beginning November 1, 2008, from 378,864 total starts in Thoroughbred flat races at 73 racetracks … 2.04 fatal injuries were recorded per 1,000 starts.

TJC did not report the actual number of deaths, but the Courier-Journal did the math, coming up with:

… about 773 horse deaths, or an average of nearly 15 fatal injuries a week.

For comparison, the New York Times offers:

In England, for example, the average risk of fatality ranges from 0.8 to 0.9 per 1,000 starts. In Victoria, Australia, studies reported the risk of fatality from 1989 to 2004 at 0.44 per 1,000 starts.

More detailed data, although not track-by-track stats, will be released at the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in June.


From Frank Angst’s upcoming Thoroughbred Times cover story:

A published Australian study released in 1996 administered by the Australian Jockey Club examined ten years of racing at Randwick and Warwick Farm racetracks. It reported a fatality rate of 0.4 per 1,000 starts (1 per 2,500) in the 57,831 starts examined. But because of varying definitions of “fatal injury,” comparisons from one country to another are difficult.

For instance, in the U.S. study, the Equine Injury Database defined any injury that led to a horse’s euthanasia or death–regardless of timeframe–as a fatality. A horse that, for example, was euthanized several days or more after the actual injury was counted as a fatal injury. On the other hand, the Australian study only considered deaths or euthanasia that occurred on the track.

The New York Times probably should have included that, no?

Posted by EJXD2 on March 26, 2010 @ 10:12 am

Thanks for the excerpt from Angst’s piece on the subject. That’s an important distinction, which probably should have been mentioned if the reporter had the info (and if he didn’t, I suppose that raises a question of propriety re: using incomplete or incompletely understood data). What I’d now like to know for comparison is, what’s the American fatality rate if it were similarly defined?

Posted by Jessica on March 30, 2010 @ 10:24 am