Archives for June 2013


The U. S. Jockey Club established The Equine Injury Database in 2008. It now has over four years’ worth of evidence from approximately 94 racetracks. About 30 of these contribute statistics derived from veterinarian reports pertaining to “…Thoroughbreds that succumbed to a race-related injury within 72 hours after the race day.”

Statistical analyses of over 1.5 million race starts in the past four calendar years, by epidemiologist and veterinarian Tim Parkin, found that the fatality rate per-thousand starts remained fairly consistent. The mortality rate was 2.00 in 2009, 1.88 in 2010, 1.88 in 2011, and 1.92 in 2012. But substantive differences emerged when the type of track surface was considered.

The average fatality rate per-thousand starts over the four-year period was 2.08 for dirt, 1.71 for turf, and 1.21 for synthetic. Significantly, the fatality rate for the synthetic alternative decreased from 1.49 in 2009 to 1.03 in 2012, or by an impressive 31%, whereas the fatality rate for dirt in 2012 was exactly the same as it was in 2009 at 2.10.

When these sterile facts are translated into what they mean for the safety of thousands of flesh-and-blood horses and their riders, the demonstrated superiority of the synthetic surface is even more compelling. Based on 2012 data, horses were over twice as likely to suffer injuries and die when racing on dirt vis-à-vis a synthetic surface. This suggests that if most American racetracks were converted to a synthetic surface, the number of racing-caused horse deaths would plummet.

If the premise is accepted that the well-being of jockeys and their mounts is paramount, then the corollary must be that races should be run on the safest sort of track surface available. Yet a sizeable majority of the 211,539 races run from 2009-2012 in North America were on dirt, the most hazardous.

Copyright © 2013 Horse Racing Business


The 2013 Investec Epsom Derby undeniably demonstrated the global influence of: (a) Coolmore in breeding and racing horses; (b) the Coolmore stallion Galileo; and (c) the Northern Dancer line.

Five of the twelve starters in the 234th Derby were owned by Coolmore and partners and trained by Aidan O’Brien. Four of these five were sired by Galileo. In addition, a starter owned by Michael Flynn, Galileo Rock, is by Galileo and trained by David Wachman, who is the son-in-law of John and Susan Magnier, the proprietors of Coolmore.

Another pair of the twelve Epsom Derby entries were sired by the 2008 winner of the race New Approach, who is a son of Galileo and stands at Darley in England.

Thus seven colts in the dozen that contested the 2013 Epsom Derby were sons or grandsons of Galileo.

The top four finishers in order were Ruler of the World, Libertarian, Galileo Rock, and Battle of Marengo. Galileo is the sire of Ruler of the World, Galileo Rock, and Battle of Marengo. Galileo’s son New Approach sired Libertarian. Coolmore and associates own the first and fourth placed colts.

Galileo was foaled in 1998 and is by Sadler’s Wells by Northern Dancer. His dam is Urban Sea by Miswaki by Mr. Prospector.

The manifest excellence of the worldwide Coolmore breeding and racing operation is reminiscent of Calumet Farm in its glory years in the United States. Yet Coolmore is even more impressive because, in the present era of international business, Coolmore has substantial stallion and breeding operations in Ireland, the United States, and Australia.

Coolmore is currently horse racing’s equivalent of Manchester United (which John Magnier once owned part of) and the New York Yankees and Galileo is likely the most influential sire since Northern Dancer. At only fifteen years of age, Galileo could post some records before he’s done that will put him in the very top tier of the best sires of all time.

Copyright © 2013 Horse Racing Business