Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fatality Rate in Thoroughbred Horse Racing

I admit that I love reading about the champions in the horse racing industry such as Sea Biscuit,
Race at Churchill Downs Wikipedia
Phar Lap, and Man O'War.  And there is just something awesome about watching the footage of Secretariat pounding down the back stretch.  However I recently came across the statistics published by the Jockey Club of horse fatalities per 1000 starts.  
Hummm, when the stats are reported as 1.61 deaths per 1000 starts that does not sound nearly as bad as the 484 horses who died in 299121 starts in 2015.  Another study indicates that the fatality rate is double if one includes injuries during training.

 If you check the charts, 790 horses died in 2009, 727 in 2010, 713 in 2011, 709 in 2012, 643 in 2013, 583 in 2014. The number of starts have declined steadily over the 8 year period also from 395897 in 2009 to 2999121 in 2015. My personal opinion is that 1.6 horses die from fatal injuries every 1000 starts is still too high. Can you imagine if we said 1.6 horses were going to die every 1000 dressage classes? Or every 1000 Icelandic horse classes? Or barrel racing starts? 

Here is a link to the report

Jockey Club Table of Fatalities per Year

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