10/12/2016 9:11AM

Maine professor Peterson joins University of Kentucky

Email

Mick Peterson, an equine biomechanics expert who has played leading roles in recent efforts to assess the safety of racetracks, has been named the director of the University of Kentucky’s Ag Equine Programs, according to the Lexington-based university.

Peterson, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Maine since 1999, will start in his new position in January, UK said.

In addition to his studies in Maine, Peterson is a co-founder of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, a nonprofit that has frequently conducted analyses designed to measure racing surfaces’ consistency and the levels of force that the surfaces convey to horses’ limbs. He is also a member of The Jockey Club’s Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Surfaces Committee.

Peterson is one of a number of data-driven experts who have lent their expertise to the racing industry over the past 10 years as part of an effort to improve the industry’s often-contentious record of safety for both horse and human athletes.

The Ag Equine Programs division at UK is “the gateway to all equine activities” in the university’s agriculture department, according to UK. Peterson will become its first full-time director, UK said.

“The fact that we are hiring our first full-time director reflects how the program has grown and evolved,” said Nancy Cox, the dean of the agriculture college. “We are privileged to attract such a prominent leader to this position. Mick’s passion for the equine industry and this program is genuine and matched by our faculty, staff, and students.”

:: Enjoy news and analysis from DRF? Unlock access to handicapping analysis, real-time coverage, reports, charts, and more. Start your 30-day trial for 1¢. (First-time members only.)