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Injury concerns despite fewer fatalities.

DESPITE a spate of fatalities during the early part of Santa Anita's 2008-09 meeting and Del Mar's recent summer meeting, the most powerful evidence in support of California's synthetic tracks is that fatalities during racing have fallen by over 40 per cent (see table above).

Nationally, a study by Mary Scollay, the Kentucky Horse Racing horse racing, trials of speed involving two or more horses. It includes races among harnessed horses with one of two particular gaits, among saddled Thoroughbreds (or, less frequently, quarterhorses) on a flat track, or among saddled horses over a turf course with  Commission's equine equine

Any member of the ungulate family Equidae, which includes the modern horses, zebras, and asses, all in the genus Equus, as well as more than 60 species known only from fossils. Equines descended from the dawn horse (see Eohippus).
 medical director, indicated a fatality rate fa·tal·i·ty rate
See death rate.

fatality rate

see case fatality rate.
 of 1.47 per 1,000 starts on synthetic surfaces compared with 2.03 on dirt tracks. A current study embracing over 80 tracks, expected to report early next year, should provide more robust data.

Injuries appear to be most common during the early days of race meetings, a tendency Dr Rick Arthur believes is related to the refurbishment re·fur·bish  
tr.v. re·fur·bished, re·fur·bish·ing, re·fur·bish·es
To make clean, bright, or fresh again; renovate.

 of synthetic surfaces. "It is difficult to mix new material with old material without producing inconsistencies," he says.

Synthetic surfaces are deeper than dirt, and tend to be 'grabbier,' allowing less foot movement.

Bill Mott, who trained Cigar, says: "The problem with synthetics is that, especially if the track is freshly waxed or the weather is hot and sticky, a horse's hind legs don't slide but stick."

Earlier this month, a report was published on post-mortem examinations post-mortem examination or autopsy, systematic examination of a cadaver for study or for determining the cause of death. Post-mortems use many methodical procedures to determine the etiology and pathogenesis of diseases, for epidemologic  conducted in 2008 on every horse that died on facilities licensed by the CHRB CHRB California Horse Racing Board
CHRB Community Housing Resource Board (Montana)
CHRB Commonwealth Health Research Board
. Of the 255 thoroughbreds examined, 112 (44 per cent) died during or immediately after a race, 82 (32 per cent) during training, and 61 (24 per cent) from accidents, colic colic, intense pain caused by spasmodic contractions of one of the hollow organs, e.g., the stomach, intestine, gall bladder, ureter, or oviduct. The cause of colic is irritation and/or obstruction, and the irritant and/or obstruction may be a stone (as in the gall  or disease. The data provides support for a link between synthetics and hind-leg injuries. On dirt tracks, only one of 69 leg injuries was a hind-leg injury, whereas on synthetic tracks, 22 of 105 leg injuries were to hind-legs.

The report stated, "rear limb injuries were suffered almost exclusively on the synthetic surfaces," but warned, "there are not enough data to unequivocally state that there is any causal relationship between rear-limb injuries and synthetic track surfaces."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 5, 2009
Previous Article:EXPERT VIEW.
Next Article:Dr Rick Arthur California Horse[...]; EXPERT VIEW.

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