03/29/2012 11:09AM

Injury data at New York tracks to be available to public


The New York State Racing and Wagering Board plans to make its injury data for the past three years at New York racetracks available to the public through the launch of a searchable database next week, the board’s chairman, John Sabini, said at a meeting of the board on Wednesday.

The database, which will likely be launched on Monday according to a board official, will be searchable by track, year, horse name, and trainer, among other search terms. The data, which will include racing and training fatalities at both Thoroughbred and harness tracks, was collected by board personnel over the past three years, the official said.

The launch of the database coincides with a renewed focus on injuries suffered by horses at tracks, particularly in New York, where 21 horses have died at Aqueduct’s current meet. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for an investigation into the deaths, and last week the board named a four-person panel to lead the investigation.

Over the past three years, many racetracks have participated in a project led by the Jockey Club to provide data on racehorse injuries and deaths. The project, called the Equine Injury Database, was launched late in 2008, and participation in the project is voluntary. The three tracks operated by the New York Racing Association – Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga – and Finger Lakes racetrack are participating in the project.

The records for the Jockey Club project were provided on the condition that the data would not be made public. However, NYRA has agreed to make its data public through a new Jockey Club website launched in early March.

The racing board official said that the data that will be made available through the new database is not the same data provided to the Jockey Club. The racing board has had its own requirements for reporting equine injuries and deaths for the past three years, the board official said.

The New York database will be the first in the U.S. that will allow the public to search injury data. The Jockey Club site only presents a summary of fatality data by racetrack.

According to the Jockey Club data, 102 horses died of racing injuries at Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga over the past three years. The data records horses that died within 72 hours of suffering a racing injury.