An analysis of data from the Equine Injury Database, comparing 2015 statistics with figures from 2014, has shown a 14% decrease in the frequency of fatal injury to Thoroughbred racehorses, The Jockey Club announced March 22.

Across all surfaces, ages, and distances, the fatality rate dropped from 1.89 per 1,000 starts in 2014 to 1.62 per 1,000 starts in 2015. The overall fatality rate of 1.62 per 1,000 starts is the lowest since the Equine Injury Database started publishing annual statistics in 2009.

Tim Parkin, BSc, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ECVPH, MRCVS, a veterinarian and epidemiologist from the University of Glasgow who serves as a consultant on the Equine Injury Database, once again performed the analysis.

“We’ve seen a significant decrease in the number of fatalities and that is certainly very encouraging,” Parkin said. “We will continue to examine data and look for trends, but the wide-ranging safety initiatives embraced by tracks, horsemen, and regulators in recent years have very likely played a role in the reduction of injuries and fatalities.”

The fatality rates associated with each racing surface were as follows:

  • On turf surfaces, there were 1.22 fatalities per 1,000 starts in 2015, compared to 1.75 in 2014.
  • On dirt surfaces, there were 1.78 fatalities per 1,000 starts in 2015, compared to 2.02 in 2014.
  • On synthetic surfaces, there were 1.18 fatalities per 1,000 starts in 2015, compared to 1.20 in 2014.

Fatality rates based on distance and age were also examined.

An analysis of 2015 race distance statistics shows that shorter races (less than 6