Injury risk factors cited as safety of horse summit ends

by | Jun 9, 2020 | Breaking, Business, National news

Weber City Miss

Photo by Laurie Asseo.


The ninth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, held this year as a series of weekly webinars due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, concluded today with a presentation on findings from the Equine Injury Database. The webinars were hosted by Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, which had previously hosted eight in-person summits.


This week’s presentation was delivered by Dr. Tim Parkin, professor of Veterinary Epidemiology at the University of Glasgow, and the webinar was moderated by Dr. Mary Scollay, executive director and chief operating officer of the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium. Parkin described risk factors for fatal injury in Thoroughbred racehorses based on data from the Equine Injury Database. Risk factors included history of previous inury, time spent on the vet’s list, increased age at first start, changing trainers and time spent with a trainer, track surface and condition, race distance, and racing in claiming races.


“Even though we were unable to host an in-person Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, we felt it was important to offer these webinars to inform industry stakeholders and the public on the work being done to protect our equine athletes and enhance equine welfare,” said Jamie Haydon, president of Grayson. “We thank our presenters and moderators for taking the time to discuss the important work they are doing to protect equine athletes.”


Today’s webinar will be uploaded to Grayson’s YouTube channel. All presentations from the virtual Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit can be found on this page.


The virtual Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit kicked off May 12 with a presentation by Dr. Katherine Garrett of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, who discussed the uses and advantages of different imaging modalities. She also highlighted common injuries to the fetlock.


On May 19, Dr. Dionne Benson, chief veterinary officer of The Stronach Group, moderated a panel consisting of Dr. Ryan Carpenter, a private veterinarian in California; Dr. William Farmer, the equine medical director for Churchill Downs Incorporated; and Dr. Scott Palmer, the equine medical director for the New York State Gaming Commission. The group emphasized the importance of transparency in medical records throughout a horse’s racing career.


The May 26 webinar featured Dr. Mick Peterson, executive director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and professor of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Peterson focused on the Maintenance Quality System, which monitors track conditions. His presentation also included interviews with Glen Kozak, the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) senior vice president of Operations & Capital Projects; 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.


The fourth webinar was moderated by Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, The Jockey Club steward for NYRA, on June 2. This session featured a presentation by Dr. Sue Stover, professor of Surgical and Radiological Sciences at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. She delved into findings from the California Horse Racing Board’s postmortem program. Stover noted that catastrophic injuries are the result of pre-existing conditions and tend to occur in predictable locations.


Among the major accomplishments that have evolved from the previous eight summits are the Equine Injury Database; the Jockey Injury Database; the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory; a uniform trainer test and study guide; the racing surfaces white paper and publication of educational bulletins for track maintenance; the publication of stallion durability statistics; the Hoof: Inside and Out DVD, available in English and Spanish; protocols for horses working off of the veterinarian’s list; recommended regulations that void the claim of horses suffering injuries during a race; and inclement weather protocols.


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