equine fatalities

Year-Over Racing Fatalities Down By Over A Third According To HISA's Q1 Report

On the heels of a clean Triple Crown season, the first quarter of 2024 (Jan. 1-Mar. 31) witnessed an approximate 38% decrease in racing-related fatalities year-over-year, according to a new Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) metrics report, which the organization released on Wednesday. The reduction by over a third took place at racetracks operating under HISA's rules. During this year's first quarter, tracks reported 0.84 racing-related equine fatalities per 1,000 starts, compared to 1.35 racing-related equine fatalities per 1,000 starts in the first quarter of 2023. Excluding Rillito Park...

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HISA: No Specific Cause for Laurel Fatalities Last Spring, Mirroring No-Fault Findings in Churchill Deaths

A months-long investigation by the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) Authority on a cluster of 13 Thoroughbred fatalities at Laurel Park during this year's winter and spring meets has determined that the deaths could not be attributed to any specific, obvious cause. The Nov. 28 report essentially reached the same no-obvious-fault finding that HISA announced back on Sept. 12 after it completed a separate-and similarly exhaustive-report on the 12 equine fatalities that occurred at Churchill Downs in April and May of 2023. "Based on the evidence and information available...

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HISA Teams With Amazon, Using AI To Reduce Equine Injuries

HISA is collaborating with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to apply data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence with the goal of enhancing equine safety by analyzing the factors contributing to injuries, the organization said in a release Wednesday morning. Representatives of HISA and AWS--along with a group of Thoroughbred trainers, veterinarians and industry technologists--met at AWS offices in Nashville last month for an Equine Health Innovation Workshop. The meeting focused on using data and technology to determine which interventions, such as specific changes to HISA's rules or the introduction of...

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Are Horses More Likely to Break Down on Wet Tracks? The Stats Say No

Are wet tracks more dangerous than dry ones? According to statistics compiled by the Jockey Club, the answer is no. The TDN reached out to The Jockey Club and asked it to dig into the Equine Injury Database and provide us with statistics regarding breakdowns and various dirt track and turf course conditions. The study was conducted by Dr. Euan Bennet and Professor Tim Parkin and covered the years 2021 and 2022. On the dirt, there were 419 fatalities on tracks listed as fast during those years from 308,954 starts....

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Screen, Scan, Save: Is This Racing's Big Fix?

Like the wildfires fanned by this summer's hot winds, doomsday predictions of horse racing's demise have raged through the mainstream and trade press this year, fueled by a sickening spate of high-profile equine fatalities on the sport's highest-profile stages--tracks armed with some of the most stringent safety guardrails. This means these horses passed before the eyes of a slew of experts--from the riders to the trainers to the veterinarians and the regulators--deemed among the best in the business. If they can't single out these horses before catastrophe happens, who can?...

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Churchill Fatalities: No 'Apparent Cause' But New Protocols in Pipeline

Bill Carstanjen, the chief executive officer of Churchill Downs, Inc. (CDI), said during a quarterly earnings conference call Thursday that nearly two months of internal investigation into the deaths of 12 Thoroughbreds during the shortened spring meet at the gaming corporation's flagship Louisville track has yielded "nothing that jumped out as the apparent cause." Carstanjen added that CDI will soon be announcing new safety protocols to be implemented for the scheduled September return of racing to Churchill Downs, but he did not disclose details about what to expect. During the...

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Q&A on Churchill/Ellis with Track Surfaces Expert Mick Peterson

Dr. Michael "Mick" Peterson, Jr. is the executive director of the independent Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory. He is a mechanical engineer who is widely considered the preeminent track surface specialist in North America. His team has conducted the ongoing testing at Churchill Downs, and it will be tasked this week with being sure Ellis Park is ready to handle a race meet in expedited fashion while also helping out with the continued surface analysis at Churchill. TDN spoke with Peterson early Friday evening in the wake of the 12 horse...

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Churchill Downs to Suspend Meet, Move Racing to Ellis Park

Reeling from a rash of breakdowns that has developed into what can only be described as a crisis for the track and for the entire sport, track management at Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced Friday that racing will be suspended at Churchill after Sunday's card and that the remainder of the scheduled meet will be run at Ellis Park. The first day of racing at Ellis will be held on June 10. The Churchill-at-Ellis meet will end on July 3. Racing at Churchill will be held as scheduled this Saturday...

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KHRC Update on Churchill's Horse Fatalities

On the heels of both the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) and Churchill Downs updating horsemen and the public Thursday on actions taken regarding the 12 equine deaths since Apr. 27 at the Louisville oval, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) issued an update of their own Friday afternoon outlining investigative actions already taken and planned to be taken in the future. The statement, which originated from the Commonwealth of Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, appears in its entirety below: "The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) takes the safety of...

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HISA Issues Churchill Downs Update

After 12 horses suffered fatal injuries at Churchill Downs in the last five weeks, prompting the Louisville track to announce new safety initiatives Thursday, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) issued an update on the situation. The HISA statement appears below in its entirety: Over the past several days, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has undertaken multiple measures to better understand the circumstances surrounding the recent spate of equine fatalities at Churchill Downs in hopes of working with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and Churchill Downs...

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Lazarus Outlines HISA Approach To Churchill Deaths

Lisa Lazarus, the CEO of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA), has written an open letter to industry participants, addressing the measures HISA plans to implement in the wake of a spate of fatalities during the first week of the Churchill Downs meet leading up to and including Kentucky Derby day. The statement, in its entirety, reads: Fellow racing participants, I wanted to take a minute of your time to share an update on HISA's role related to the events of last week along with a perspective on what's...

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MJC Issues New Statement on Laurel, Racing will Resume

The Maryland Jockey Club (MJC), which cancelled racing this weekend after two fatalities at Laurel Park Thursday, issued a new statement late Saturday regarding the status of the Laurel surface. The statement appears in full below: The Maryland Jockey Club has cancelled its Thursday, Apr. 27 racing program at Laurel Park due to insufficient entries. The racing office will be open and taking entries Sunday for the Friday, Apr. 28 program. We acknowledge the recent statements in the press regarding the safety of our racing surface. However, we want to...

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