Dr. Mick Peterson, Executive Director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and Professor, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky gave a presentation entitled “Track Surfaces: International standards for racing surfaces and the expansion of the Maintenance Quality System” Tuesday as part of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation's weekly webinar series. The series was developed to make up for the cancellation of the ninth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Peterson's presentation was divided into three parts–“current best practices for testing and documentation of racetrack maintenance”; “recent developments in industry standards and adoption of international test standards” and “the future of racing surface testing” and featured video interviews with Glen Kozak, NYRA's Vice President of Surfaces and Facilities; Jim Pendergest, General Manager of The Thoroughbred Center and Director of Surfaces at Keeneland; Dr. Stephanie Bonin, Biomedical Engineer at MEA Forensic; and Dennis Moore, Track Superintendent at Del Mar and Santa Anita.
Much of the focus was centered around the implementation and continued development of the Maintenance Quality System (MQS), a comprehensive system developed by Peterson and incorporated by a number of tracks for the collection and analysis of data related to track surfaces. Peterson said the ultimate goal was for the MQS to become a “black box” for analyzing exact conditions under which catastrophic incidents and injuries occur. He noted that for the MQS to reach its full potential, work must still be done on the automation and standardization of data along with an overall improvement on the quality of data.
“If you had asked me 10 or 15 years ago, horse racing was well behind other sports [in compiling and analyzing safety data],” Peterson said during a question and answer segment. “Right now, I think that we have some of the best protocols and standards–and data–and I'd certainly say that the Equine Industry Database is a key element of this. The data that we're acquiring from horse racing, I would put up against any sport. Certainly we have privacy issues for the jockeys, but we have much better tracking for the horses.”
Next week's webinar will be “California Necropsy Program: Lessons learned from Dr. Sue Stover's research” moderated by Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, The Jockey Club Steward, New York Racing Association and featuring Dr. Sue Stover, Professor of Surgical and Radiological Sciences at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.