Equine fatalities declined in 2022

From a Jockey Club release with additional reporting

The initial data analysis from the 14th year of reporting to the Equine Injury Database (EID) shows a decrease in the rate of fatal injury in 2022 (1.25 fatalities per 1,000 starts) compared to 2021 (1.39 fatalities per 1,000 starts). This is the fourth consecutive year that the rate has decreased, and it is the third consecutive year in which the rate has been below 1.5 fatalities per 1,000 starts. It is the first time ever that the rate has been below 1.3 fatalities per 1,000 starts.

Closer to home, the Mid-Atlantic tracks which made their statistics public saw the incidence of fatal injury tick up to 1.4 per 1,000 starts versus 1.15 in 2021. The three-year rolling average of 1.27 fatalities per 1,000 starts was the region’s lowest three-year average since the creation of the Database.

Data for 2022 includes the three Maryland tracks (Laurel, Pimlico, and Timonium), Delaware Park, and Monmouth Park. Parx Racing, Penn National, Charles Town, and Presque Isle Downs do not typically release their statistics; Colonial Downs generally does but has not yet done so for 2022.

Analysis provided by Professor Tim Parkin (University of Bristol), who has consulted on the EID since its inception, and by Dr. Euan Bennet (University of Glasgow), also shows historic low rates of fatality on each surface type, for 3-year-old horses, and for race distances longer than 8 furlongs.

“The data shows that since 2009, the risk of fatal injury during racing has declined by 37.5%, which is statistically significant,” Parkin said. “The overall downward trends are testament to the benefits of an evidence-based approach to safety, which is only possible thanks to the EID.” 

Based on the 2022 data, 99.88% of flat racing starts at the racetracks participating in the EID were completed without a fatality.

Key statistics from the 2022 analysis are as follows (figures represent the incidence of racing fatality per 1,000 starts):

For trends of the EID since 2009, please visit jockeyclub.com/pdfs/eid_14_year_tables.pdf.

Risk of fatal injury on the racecourse decreased by 10.1% from 2021 to 2022, 11.3% from 2020 to 2022, and 18.3% from 2019 to 2022.

“We can say with confidence that the risk of fatal injury is heading in a sustained downward direction both overall and in many specific areas,” Parkin said. “The six-month period from July 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022, was the safest six-month period on record since the inception of the EID in 2009. This evidence of positive progress is very encouraging and should be applauded by everyone in North American racing.”

Since March 2012, racetracks have been able to voluntarily publish their statistics from the EID on The Jockey Club website. The racetracks that publish their EID statistics reported racing fatalities per 1,000 starts of 0.99 as compared to 1.42 for those that do not publish.

The EID statistics are based on injuries that resulted in fatalities within 72 hours from the date of the race. The statistics are for official Thoroughbred races only and exclude steeplechase races. Summary statistics for the EID are subject to change due to a number of considerations, including reporting timeliness. All data entered into the EID goes through a multilevel quality control process to ensure the data is completely and accurately reported.

Throughout the course of 2022, approximately 99% of all Thoroughbred starts were included in the EID.

In the Mid-Atlantic, the three Maryland tracks combined to have their best year since the creation of the database. At Laurel, Pimlico, and Timonium, there were 12 fatalities in 2022 from 11,541 starters. That’s a fatal injury rate of 1.04 per 1,000 starts. Maryland now has a three-year rolling average of 1.2 fatalities per 1,000 starts.

Monmouth and Delaware both saw their fatality rates tick up in 2022, Monmouth’s to 2.05 per 1,000 starts and Delaware’s to 1.68. Delaware’s three-year rolling average of 1.2 fatalities per 1,000 starts is the same as Maryland’s, while Monmouth’s rolling average is 1.64.