In the summer of 2006, Keeneland underwent a massive renovation that included the installation of an all-weather surface called Polytrack® on its main track. Racing debuted on the surface in October. Since then, Keeneland has noted a reduction in catastrophic injuries.
Among the ways Keeneland measures the safety of its all-weather surface and turf course is to record information about catastrophic injuries. The information is contained in an industry-wide database called the Equine Injury Database (www.jockeyclub.com/initiatives.asp).
The Equine Injury Database grew out of a proposal introduced at the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit in Lexington, Ky., in October 2006. The Jockey Club, through two of its for-profit subsidiary companies, InCompass and The Jockey Club Technology Services, Inc., has underwritten the cost to develop and operate the database as a service to the industry.
The database was launched in July 2008. Its primary objectives are to:
• Identify the frequency, types, and outcome of racing injuries using a standardized format that will generate valid statistics.
• Identify markers for horses at increased risk of injury.
• Serve as a data source for research directed at improving safety and preventing injuries.
The database contains records of fatalities at Keeneland and nearly 90 other North American racetracks that conducted Thoroughbred racing from 2008-2012. The Jockey Club periodically releases updated information.
Based on an analysis of 1,532,418 starts collected during the four-year period from 2009-2012, the prevalence of race-related fatal injury was 1.92 per 1,000 starts. For individual years, the prevalence of fatal injury per 1,000 starts was 2.00 for 2009, 1.88 for 2010, 1.88 for 2011, and 1.92 for 2012.