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Objective—To compare financial returns between pinhooked yearling horses (ie, bought and trained for approximately 5 months with the goal of selling the horse at "2-year-olds in training" sales) that had mild or severe training failure and horses that had planned versus nonplanned training failure.

Animals—40 Thoroughbred pinhooked yearling horses.

Procedure—During the period from September 1998 through and April 1999, 20 horses had mild training failure (1 to 11 days lost), and 20 horses had severe training failure (13 to 108 days lost). Horses were assigned to these 2 groups on the basis of frequency distribution (median) of days lost during training. Horses were also categorized on the basis of type of training failure (planned vs nonplanned training failure). The outcome of primary interest was financial return. Median financial returns were compared among groups by use of the Mann-Whitney U test.

Results—Median financial returns for horses that had severe training failure ($1,000) were significantly different, compared with horses that had mild training failure ($24,000). Analysis of results also indicated that median returns were significantly different among horses that had planned training failure (−$2,000; eg, horses with radiographic abnormalities detected during routine prepurchase examinations that required surgical treatment, resulting in days lost during training), compared with horses that did not ($10,000).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Training failure has an economic impact on revenues in pinhooked yearling horses. Lameness, planned training failure, respiratory disease, and ringworm were common and important causes of training failure. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:1418–1422)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To identify race-start characteristics associated with catastrophic musculoskeletal (MS) injury in Thoroughbred racehorses at 2 racetracks in Florida during 1995 through 1998.

Design—Matched case-control study.

Animals—97 Thoroughbreds (case horses) that incurred a catastrophic MS injury during racing and 388 Thoroughbreds (control horses) randomly selected from noninjured participants and matched on the basis of racetrack and year.

Procedure—Incidence of MS injury was calculated for all race meets at 2 racetracks in Florida from 1995 through 1998. Race-start characteristics were compared among case and control horses, using conditional logistic regression.

Results—Overall incidence of MS injury was 1.2/1,000 race starts (97/79,416 starts). Incidence of injury was significantly higher for turf races (2.3/1,000 starts) than for dirt races (0.9/1,000 starts). Sex, number of days since last race, and racing surface were associated with risk of injury; geldings, ≥ 33 days since the last race, and turf racing surface were associated with a higher risk of injury.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Incidence of injury among Thoroughbreds in Florida was associated with sex, number of days since last race, and racing surface. Days since last race may have been an indicator of previous health and lameness problems. Racing surface may have been a risk factor for MS injury because turf races tended to be more competitive than dirt races. Horses running in turf races were more likely to participate in races with a large field, handicap races, long races, and races with high purses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:83–86)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate horseshoe characteristics and high-speed exercise history as risk factors for catastrophic musculoskeletal injury in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Animals—377 horses (37,529 race starts).

Procedure—Shoe characteristics included material, toe grab height, heel traction device, pads, and rim shoes. Racing variables were obtained from a computerized database. Forty-three horses that had a musculoskeletal injury and then failed to race or train for 6 months (cases) and 334 noninjured horses from the same race in which a horse was injured (controls) were compared regarding risk factors.

Results—Overall, 98% of race starts were associated with aluminum shoes, 85% with toe grabs, 32% with pads, and 12% with rims on forelimb horseshoes. Among 43 horses with musculoskeletal injury, sex (geldings), an extended interval since last race, and reduced exercise during the 30 or 60 days preceding injury were risk factors for catastrophic injury. Odds of injury in racehorses with toe grabs on front shoes were 1.5 times the odds of injury in horses without toe grabs, but this association was not significant (95% confidence interval, 0.5 to 4.1).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that horses that return to racing after an extended period of reduced exercise are at high risk of catastrophic musculoskeletal injury. Results regarding the use of toe grabs as a possible risk factor for catastrophic injury were inconclusive because the probability of declaring (in error) that use of toe grabs was associated with an increased risk of musculoskeletal injury (eg, odds ratio > 1.0) was 38%. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:1314–1320)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research