Trend Continues: Fewer Fatal Injuries to Horses on Synthetic Racing Surfaces By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · May 7, 2012
A database compiled by The Jockey Club indicated the incidence of fatal injuries in 2011 was lower when horses raced on synthetic track surfaces rather than dirt. The rate of fatalities on dirt was 2.07 per 1000 starts, while the rate on synthetic surfaces was 1.09 per 1000 starts. Fatalities on turf courses were 1.53 per 1000 starts in 2011. Races on dirt were the most numerous (283,745) followed by races on an artificial surface (45,700) and turf (50,362).
Approximately 93% of all racing days in the U.S. during 2011 were included in the analysis. Figures considered for the Equine Injury Database reflected only injuries that resulted in the death of the horse during the 72 hours directly following the race in which the injury occurred. Injuries, regardless of severity, that did not cause the death of the horse or led to death more than three days after the race were not included in the figures.
Collection of facts for the database was started in January of 2009. To date, information has been gathered for more than 1,160,000 starts (all starting horses in all reported races).