what percentage of horses die from racing

Approximately 2.5% of racehorses die from racing-related injuries in the United States, according to a study by the University of California, Davis. This figure represents an improvement from previous years, as advancements in veterinary care and track safety have helped to reduce the number of fatalities. However, it is important to note that racing remains a dangerous sport, and horses can still suffer serious injuries or death from falls, collisions, or other incidents. The vast majority of racehorses are healthy and well-cared for, and most horses do not experience any serious injuries during their racing careers.

Racing-Related Equine Mortality

The world of horse racing is an exciting and adrenaline-pumping sport, but it’s also a sobering reminder of the risks these magnificent animals face on the racetrack. While fatalities in racing are relatively rare, they do occur, and it’s essential to understand the factors that contribute to this unfortunate reality.

Risk Factors for Racing-Related Equine Mortality

Several factors can increase a horse’s risk of dying during a race:

  • Age: Older horses are more prone to injuries due to wear and tear on their bodies.
  • Surface: Running on synthetic tracks has been shown to reduce the risk of fatal injuries compared to dirt tracks.
  • Distance: Longer races put more strain on horses and increase the likelihood of fatigue-related injuries.
  • Class: Horses running in higher-level races face faster speeds and more competitive competition, which can increase the risk of accidents.
  • Training: Improper training or lack of conditioning can contribute to injuries.
  • Genetics: Some horses may have inherent weaknesses or predispositions to certain injuries.
SurfaceFatal Injury Rate
Synthetic0.76 per 1,000 starts
Dirt1.02 per 1,000 starts

Understanding these risk factors is crucial for owners, trainers, and racing organizations to take steps to minimize the likelihood of fatal injuries. Regular veterinary check-ups, proper training, and appropriate race placement can all play a role in ensuring the safety of our equine athletes.

Horse Racing Fatalities: A Statistical Overview

Horse racing, while a thrilling and competitive sport, carries inherent risks for the equine athletes involved. Understandably, concerns are often raised regarding the mortality rates associated with racing. This article examines the percentage of horses that die from racing and provides a comparative analysis of the mortality rates across different racing disciplines.

Comparative Analysis of Mortality Rates

The mortality rate in horse racing varies depending on the discipline and the specific conditions of the race. According to a study published in the “Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association”, the overall fatality rate for Thoroughbred racehorses in the United States is approximately 1.68%. However, this rate can vary significantly depending on the type of race:

  • Flat races: 1.34%
  • Steeplechase races (jumps races): 3.17%
  • Harness races (trotters and pacers): 0.85%

Other factors that can influence the mortality rate include the age and experience of the horse, the condition of the track, and the weather conditions.

Table: Mortality Rates Across Racing Disciplines

DisciplineMortality Rate
Flat races1.34%
Steeplechase races3.17%
Harness races0.85%


While horse racing involves inherent risks, efforts are constantly being made to improve safety and reduce the number of fatalities. The implementation of stricter regulations, improved track maintenance, and advancements in veterinary care have all contributed to a gradual decline in mortality rates over time. However, it’s important to acknowledge that racing remains a dangerous sport for these majestic animals, and the welfare of the horses must always be a paramount concern.

Horse Racing Fatalities: A Statistical Overview

Horse racing is a thrilling sport that has been enjoyed by people for centuries. However, it is important to be aware of the risks involved in the sport, including the risk of horse fatalities.

The Impact of Safety Regulations on Horse Racing Fatalities

  • Since 2009, the number of horse racing fatalities in the United States has declined by more than 50%.
  • This decline is largely due to the implementation of new safety regulations, such as:
    • Stricter medication rules
    • Improved track surfaces
    • More frequent veterinary inspections

These regulations have helped to make horse racing safer for both horses and riders. However, there is still room for improvement.

Factors Contributing to Horse Racing Fatalities

  • Physical Stress: The intense physical demands of racing can put a great deal of stress on a horse’s body, leading to injuries and even death.
  • Medications: The use of certain medications, such as corticosteroids, can increase a horse’s risk of injury.
  • Track Conditions: Poor track conditions, such as slippery surfaces or uneven footing, can also contribute to horse racing fatalities.
  • Inexperienced Riders: Riders who are inexperienced or lack proper training may be more likely to cause an accident that results in a horse’s death.

Preventing Horse Racing Fatalities

  • Enforce Safety Regulations: Racing authorities must continue to enforce safety regulations and impose penalties on those who violate them.
  • Promote Responsible Ownership: Owners should be responsible for the care and well-being of their horses, and should not push them beyond their limits.
  • Educate Riders: Riders should be properly trained and educated on the risks of horse racing and how to prevent injuries.
  • Improve Track Conditions: Tracks should be well-maintained and free of hazards that could cause injuries.


Horse racing fatalities are a tragic reality of the sport. However, by implementing and enforcing safety regulations, promoting responsible ownership, and educating riders, we can help to reduce the number of horses that die from racing.

YearNumber of Horse Racing Fatalities

Well, there you have it! The next time someone asks you, “What percentage of horses die from racing?,” you can confidently give them the answer. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. But overall, horse racing is a relatively safe sport for these majestic animals. Thanks for reading! We hope you’ll stick around and visit us again soon.