05/25/2010 12:00AM

Safety data to be released


The administrators of a database containing information on fatalities at U.S. racetracks over the past 18 months will release additional details about the data at a conference organized by the Jockey Club at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky., on June 28-29, the Jockey Club said.

Dr. Tim Parkin, a veterinarian and epidemiologist at the University of Glasgow who is analyzing the data, will release the new findings, according to the Jockey Club, at a June 28 presentation at the third Welfare and Safety Summit. The results will be co-presented by Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, who launched the project 18 months ago and administers the database.

In March, the Jockey Club released preliminary data from the study showing that 2.04 horses suffered fatal breakdowns per every 1,000 starts contained in the database. The rate was produced from an analysis of 378,864 starts that were recorded from Nov. 1, 2008, to Nov. 1, 2009.

At the time the fatality rate was released, Jockey Club officials said they did not feel comfortable releasing statistics on fatalities per start on turf, dirt, or artificial surfaces because of a desire to sufficiently analyze the existing data. Racing officials have been eager to see data on fatalities compared to type of racing surface because of ongoing discussions in the industry over the value of artificial surfaces. The presentation by Parkin and Scollay at the summit will also likely include rates for a variety of other categories, including age of horse and distance of race.

The Welfare and Safety Summit was first held in 2006, also at Keeneland. A second summit was held in 2008.

Presentations on racing surfaces, medication use, racing equipment, surface maintenance, and post-race careers for racehorses are also scheduled for the summit, according to the Jockey Club.