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

Morning workouts | Sarah Andrew

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 in Arizona, which is closed for racing this year, the same tracks conducted racing during the first quarters of both 2023 and 2024.

“Reducing equine fatalities is the central focus of HISA's work,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “While even one fatality is too many, we are pleased to see the progress we are making. I am incredibly proud of HISA's hard work and dedication in cooperation with our industry partners to prioritize horse welfare above all else.  We continue to actively seek feedback from the horse racing community on improving our rules and making Thoroughbred racing safer and fairer, and the achievement of a Triple Crown with no equine fatalities is a testament to our collective efforts. The industry can and should celebrate its commitment to evolve and prioritize the safety and welfare of its athletes–human and equine–above all else.”

This is the first time in U.S. Thoroughbred racing history that fatality metrics have been published on a quarterly basis–a reporting cadence that HISA will maintain going forward, in recognition of the seasonal variabilities in racing conditions and numbers of equine fatalities, as well as the importance of ongoing transparency regarding safety concerns. Highlights of HISA's Quarterly Metrics Report include:

  • Equine Fatalities: Racetracks operating under HISA's rules that were open for racing reported 0.84 racing-related equine fatalities per 1,000 starts during the first quarter of 2024 as compared to 1.35 racing-related equine fatalities per 1,000 starts during the first quarter of 2023, a decrease of approximately 38% year over year. The report also sets forth the racing-related fatalities by individual racetrack. Beginning with HISA's 2024 Annual Metrics Report, to be published during the first quarter of 2025, HISA will provide training-related fatalities for the full year and each quarter of 2024 on an aggregate and per-track basis.
  • Racetrack Accreditation: As of Mar. 31, HISA has completed accreditation visits at 24 tracks, three of which occurred during the first quarter of this year: Turfway Park in Kentucky, Laurel Park in Maryland and Sunland Park in New Mexico.
  • Racing Participant Registration: As of Mar. 31, approximately 33,000 Covered Persons, 58,000 Covered Horses and 1,000 veterinarians were registered with HISA.
  • Use of Riding Crop Violations: During the first quarter of 2024, HISA reported 4.74 crop rule violations per 1,000 starts, compared to 4.46 crop rule violations per 1,000 starts in the first quarter of 2023.
  • Veterinary Treatment Records: On average, HISA received approximately 5,900 veterinary treatment records each day during the first quarter of 2024, and, as of Mar. 31, approximately 2.5 million veterinary treatment records had been uploaded to the HISA Portal since the inception of the Racetrack Safety Program on July 1, 2022.

The Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit will also release a separate quarterly report detailing metrics from the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program.

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