Scollay believes the system will address what she calls "certain assertions and beliefs" about the frequency and severity
of racetrack injuries, especially in the press over the last couple of years, and particularly since the fatal breakdown of
the filly Eight Belles at this year's Kentucky Derby.
"There have been all kinds of statements about increasing injuries, including assertions about the vulnerability of fillies
vs. colts and the types of races they run. The fact is, the data just isn't there to support such statements. We're just beginning
to collect it now."
The system will look at horses that run consistently without injury, too, examining their histories and variables such as
their training regimen and type of track on which they normally run, in an effort to determine what keeps them injury-free.
Although Scollay is busy in her new role as Kentucky's equine medical director, a job she began July 1 after 13 years as senior
veterinarian for Florida's Calder Race Course and Gulf Stream Park, she'll continue to devote some time each week helping
coordinate and promote the reporting system.
Dr. Ashley Hill, epidemiologist at Colorado State University, will analyze the data to look for important trends or patterns
of activity that might be seen as injury risk factors. "We need an epidemiologist to look at and sort out the variables,"
Scollay says. "For example, she'll look at track surfaces — dirt, turf and synthetic — and configurations, like turning radius
of some tracks, which can change the dynamics. We want to make sure the statistics are valid and meaningful. The more data
we obtain and analyze, obviously the more we'll learn. But it will take some time."
Scollay is one four veterinarians who testified in June before the U.S. House Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee
on injuries and medication issues in Thoroughbred racing, with a view as to whether the industry can regulate itself effectively,
or whether a federal regulatory agency is needed, Her testimony focused on the reporting system as an example of how the industry
is taking serious steps to reduce injuries and work toward uniform regulation from within.
The Jockey Club is underwriting the cost of operating the reporting system "as a service to the industry," it says in a press
"We are especially grateful to Dr. Scollay and Dr. Arthur for their assistance with the pilot program and system testing,
and to all the regulatory veterinarians ... who provided their expertise," says Alan Marzelli, Jockey Club president who also
testified before the House panel in June.