Thursday, December 23, 2010

Equine Injury Database statistics released

The Jockey Club recently released an updated North American fatality rate for Thoroughbreds based on two years’ worth of data in the Equine Injury Database (EID), the North American database for racing injuries.

The results are from data collected from 87 North American race tracks between November 1, 2008 and October 31, 2010, in Thoroughbred flat racing. Included in the data are horses that suffered a fatal injury during a race and immediately after a race, and those that succumbed to a race-related injury subsequent to race day.

Based on an analysis of 754,932 starts recorded during the two-year period November 1, 2008 - October 31, 2010, the prevalence of fatal injury declined to 2.00 per 1,000 starts, as compared to the 2.04 per 1,000 starts for the one-year period November 1, 2008, - October 31 2009.

Dr. Tim Parkin,  a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow, who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database, performed the analysis.

He noted that the change in the overall fatality rate stemmed from cumulative two-year data that revealed a statistically significant difference in the prevalence of fatality on both turf and synthetic surfaces versus dirt. The difference in the prevalence of fatality between synthetic and turf surfaces was not statistically significant.

“The addition of 376,000 starts to the database in year two enabled us to statistically validate certain trends seen in the data,” said Parkin. “Trends will continue to emerge and evolve as additional data becomes available for study and as more complex statistical analyses are performed. This will allow us to understand how different variables, alone and in concert, may impact the risk of fatality.”

Other trends gleaned from Parkin’s analysis of the cumulative two-year data, included:

  • The prevalence of fatality in 2-year-olds continued to be significantly lower than older horses racing on dirt surfaces. However, on synthetic or turf surfaces, there was no statistically significant difference in the prevalence of fatality between 2-year-olds and older horses.
  • The prevalence of fatality continued to be unaffected by distance, weight carried and movement of races off the turf.
  • Fillies and mares competing in races that were open to horses of all sexes were not at an increased risk of fatality compared to those competing in races restricted to fillies and mares.                               
"These calculations are considered estimates of prevalence because they represent a two-year sample of data and not a complete census" Parkin explains. "The statistics included here do not imply anything about the relative safety of a racing surface or a horse’s age. As the data contained in the EID continues to grow, some of the current statistical conclusions may change as a reflection of increased certainty associated with a larger data set."

“We will continue to publish these national benchmarks on an annual basis to provide the necessary statistical foundation participating racetracks need for monitoring and comparing their individual results,” said Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s executive vice president and executive director.

 “As the database continues to grow, we look forward to the additional information and statistical power it will yield to improve the health and safety of the racehorse."


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