Stats Reflect Well On Racing Safety Efforts In Maryland

Friday, March 1, 2024

The 2023 statistics from the national Equine Industry Database show that Maryland Thoroughbred racetracks had a very positive year in terms of the number of equine racing fatalities.

Overall, the rate of fatal injury in Thoroughbred races in 2023 was up slightly from 2022 but it was the second-lowest since the 2009 launch of the EID, The Jockey Club reported Feb. 27. Last year’s national rate of 1.32 per 1,000 starts was up 5.6% from the 2022 rate of 1.25 per 1,000 starts—the lowest figure since 2009. The rate covers dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces in total.

All three Maryland tracks in 2023 were well below the rate of 1.32 per 1,000 starts. Laurel Park, which by far had the highest number of starts at 9,499, reported 0.74 fatalities per 1,000 starts. Pimlico Race Course (1,589 starts) was at 0.63 per 1,000 starts, while the Maryland State Fair at Timonium (400 starts) had zero racing fatalities, according to the stats released Feb. 27.

Laurel’s fatality rate was its lowest since 2009, the year the EID first released the stats, and it was down 28.1% from the 2022 number. The Pimlico rate dropped 4.5% from 2022, while Timonium’s was down 100%.

Based on the 2023 data, 99.87% of flat racing starts at the racetracks participating in the EID were completed without a fatality. Throughout the course of 2023, approximately 99% of all Thoroughbred starts were included in the EID.

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.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority Feb. 27 issued a separate release on the EID statistics. HISA said racetracks under its jurisdiction had a fatality rate of 1.23 per 1,000 starts, and that “the methodologies and criteria for reporting HISA’s and The Jockey Club’s rates are identical, with the caveat that The Jockey Club’s 2022 and 2023 rates include data from Thoroughbred racetracks in the United States currently operating outside of HISA’s jurisdiction.

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