HISA quarterly metrics report reflects decrease in racing-related fatalities

By: Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association

Posted: June 14, 2024

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority June 12 released a 2024 first-quarter metrics report that shows a substantial percentage decrease in racing-related equine fatalities.

HISA also announced that beginning with its 2024 annual metrics report be released in the first quarter of 2025, the organization will provide training-related fatalities for the full year and each quarter of 2024 on an aggregate and per-track basis.

For the first quarter of 2024, there was a 38% decrease in racing-related fatalities year over year, according to the report. Racetracks operating under HISA’s rules and running races in the first quarter reported 0.84 racing-related equine fatalities per 1,000 starts, compared with 1.35 racing-related equine fatalities per 1,000 starts in the first quarter of 2023. Excluding Rillito Park in Arizona, which is closed for racing this year, the same tracks conducted racing during the first quarters of both 2023 and 2024.

“Reducing equine fatalities is the central focus of HISA’s work,” HISA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Lazarus said in a release. “While even one fatality is too many, we are pleased to see the progress we are making. I am incredibly proud of HISA’s hard work and dedication in cooperation with our industry partners to prioritize horse welfare above all else.

“We continue to actively seek feedback from the horseracing community on improving our rules and making Thoroughbred racing safer and fairer, and the achievement of a Triple Crown with no equine fatalities is a testament to our collective efforts. The industry can and should celebrate its commitment to evolve and prioritize the safety and welfare of its athletes—human and equine—above all else.”

This is the first time in United States Thoroughbred racing history that fatality metrics have been published on a quarterly basis—a reporting cadence that HISA will maintain going forward, in recognition of the seasonal variabilities in racing conditions and numbers of equine fatalities, as well as the importance of ongoing transparency regarding safety concerns.

HISA 2024 first-quarter metrics report

Highlights of HISA’s quarterly metrics report include:

Racetrack Accreditation: As of March 31, 2024, HISA has completed accreditation visits at 24 tracks, three of which occurred during the first quarter of this year: Turfway Park in Kentucky, Laurel Park in Maryland and Sunland Park in New Mexico.

Racing Participant Registration: As of March 31, 2024, approximately 33,000 covered persons, 58,000 covered horses and 1,000 veterinarians were registered with HISA.

Use of Riding Crop Violations: During the first quarter of 2024, HISA reported 4.74 crop rule violations per 1,000 starts, compared with 4.46 crop rule violations per 1,000 starts in the first quarter of 2023.

Veterinary Treatment Records: On average, HISA received about 5,900 veterinary treatment records each day during the first quarter of 2024, and, as of March 31, 2024, approximately 2.5 million veterinary treatment records had been uploaded to the HISA portal since the inception of the Racetrack Safety Program on July 1, 2022.

The Horseracing Integrity & Welfare Unit will also release a separate quarterly report detailing metrics from the HISA Anti-Doping and Medication Control Program.