HISA releases report on fatalities at Laurel Park

By: Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association

Posted: Nov. 30, 2023

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority has released a lengthy report a cluster of equine fatalities at Laurel Park in March and April of this year. The report can be found here.

The following assessment is part of the report. It notes thats that the HISA Track Surface Advisory Group was not in effect at the time of the incidents and in fact was created to address the circumstances that occurred at Laurel, in the spring at Churchill Downs and in the summer at Saratoga Race Course.

“Based on the evidence and information available to HISA, the cluster of fatalities cannot be attributed to a singular cause. However, HISA’s review does establish that both the (Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association) and (Maryland Horse Breeders Association) expressed concerns about the consistency of the track surface during March and April which lead to the track inspection visits of (Dennis) Moore and (John) Passero. Following those visits, in late April, Laurel Park implemented changes in track maintenance practices that were designed to increase the consistency of the track surface pad and cushion. It is notable that following the track maintenance procedures that were implemented after Mr. Moore’s and Mr. Passero’s visits, there were no further fatalities during the spring meet.

“Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that those changes contributed to a safer surface going forward.”