StrideSAFE Team Concludes Churchill's Musculoskeletal Fatality Data Showed Pre-Existing Conditions

The researchers, from left to right: Greg Pachman, Dr. Mikael Homstrom, Dr. David Lambert, Dr. Kevin Donohue, Dr. Denise McSweeney, Dr. Laura Kennedy, Dr. Warwick Bayly, and Dr. Sue Stover | Courtesy of StrideSAFE

A research team associated with StrideSAFE, the biometric sensor mechanism capable of detecting minute changes in a horse's gait at high speed, concluded that the majority of the recent musculoskeletal fatalities at Churchill Downs were due to pre-existing conditions. A total of 12 horses suffered fatal injuries over a recent five-week period at Churchill, leading track officials to unveil new safety initiatives and then move the remainder of the current meet to Ellis Park.

A grant was awarded to StrideSAFE by the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council (KEDRC), prompting a research team to hold a two-day meeting at the company's headquarters in Midway, Kentucky. In attendance were lead investigators Dr. Warwick Bayly and Dr. Denise McSweeney; co-investigator and StrideSAFE CEO Dr. David Lambert; and team consultants Dr. Mikael Holmstrom, Dr. Kevin Donohue, Dr. Sue Stover, and Dr. Laura Kennedy; as well as Greg Pachman, who represented StrideSAFE management.

The team reviewed Churchill's recent fatalities, of which eight of the 12 were race-day musculoskeletal events. All eight of the horses were carrying StrideSAFE technology. Seven of the eight musculoskeletal cases showed abnormal sensor readings as soon as they left the starting gate.

“Had the sensors been on the horses in prior races, they could have pointed to an issue the horse was having weeks or even months earlier,” said Lambert. “These results give us great optimism that with consistent use, we should be able to identify issues long before they are discernible to the human eye. StrideSAFE technology will empower trainers and veterinarians with vital information which they can use in their daily efforts to safeguard the welfare of their horses.”

TDN has published a number of stories on StrideSAFE's technology in the past year, including The Missing Link to End Fatal Musculoskeletal Injuries?; Data, Data, Data: The “New Frontier” for Horse Racing; and NYRA, StrideSAFE Sensor Technology Study Begins New Stage.

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