Jockey Club Encourages Individual Tracks to List Fatality Statistics

by Devin Katayama on March 6, 2012

Individual racetracks are being asked to post information on a new Web page that tracks equine fatality statistics.

Since 2008, the Jockey Club has kept injury data in its Equine Injury Database. It represents some 93 percent of racing days for the past three years. But until recently there’s been no database for individual tracks.

Now, the Jockey Club has introduced a Web page that allows individual tracks to post fatality information and include specifics, like the age and gender of the horses, as well as the surface on which they raced. More than a dozen tracks in the U.S. are currently participating, including Kentucky’s Keeneland and Turfway tracks.

Jockey Club Executive Director Matt Iuliano said some tracks don’t want their individual information released, even though it could be used to improve operations. When the injury database was released in 2008, it took a while for some tracks to warm up to the idea of handing over certain information, he said. Now, the database is used by tracks as a tool.

“When you visit with the race tracks that are actually using it, yes, they have seen improvements. They’ll focus on certain areas of the track, they’ll focus on operations, they’ll focus on all the myriad of factors that will go into the calculation of an injury,” said Iuliano.

There are currently 16 tracks that participate in making their data available publicly. If more tracks were involved it could make a more comprehensive data set, he said.

“If trends were to emerge at a particular racetrack and they need to discover common factors behind them, or risk factors that may be predictive, they have that ability through those individual reporting tools,” he said.

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