HISA pairing with AI company to flag horses on race day for risk factors for injury

An unedited press release from the Horseracing Integrity & Safety Authority (HISA). Message from your Kentucky HBPA: There is a lot to unpack here, a lot we need to learn, including exactly what will be involved and how this would work. For instance, one risk factor mentioned is length of time between races. But will it take into account how many times that horse was entered to run and the race didn’t go, as one example? 

December 5, 2023 (Tucson, AZ) – The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) has partnered with Palantir Technologies, a leading provider of artificial intelligence systems, to create a data-enabled tool to assist industry stakeholders in identifying horses at risk for injury before they race. The tool will generate a daily report for each racetrack, flagging any horses entered in that day’s races who may present potential risk factors for injury. This enables identification of at-risk horses with increased efficiency and accuracy and will inform the hands-on pre-race inspections of each runner. This project is one of many innovative ways HISA is working with the world’s top technologists to leverage the data it collects for the continued advancement of equine safety.

“HISA continues to work with leading partners like Palantir to utilize data and technology in its mission to reduce equine injuries and fatalities,” said HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus. “Our hope is that this revolutionary technology is used to more efficiently and accurately identify horses at risk of injury as part of the screening process for determining if they’re fit to race. This powerful, AI-enabled tool will streamline and automate a process that had previously taken significant time away from veterinarians’ hands-on care of horses. We’re excited to be working with the experts at Palantir on this and future initiatives.”

“Palantir is proud to support HISA in its embrace of technology to reduce equine injuries and fatalities,” said Palantir’s Head of Global Commercial Ted Mabrey. “HISA came to a Bootcamp for Palantir’s Artificial Intelligence Platform (AIP) this fall and has rapidly scaled its implementation independently. HISA is proving that real world outcomes, in this case equine safety, can be achieved in weeks with the acceleration that AIP and bootcamps provide.”

The new tool HISA and Palantir have developed reviews health information and historical entry data to determine whether each horse entered in a race is at increased risk for injury based on various factors. The tool accounts for such risk factors as the length of a horse’s previous layoff (if any), term with current trainer, history on the vet’s list and other indicators of previous injury or poor performance. The process for evaluating these records for each horse entered in a race had previously taken veterinarians an average of five hours per race. This same review can now be accomplished in a matter of minutes.

“By leveraging Palantir’s technology, HISA is helping to significantly reduce the time it takes to identify horses potentially at risk,” said Steve Keech, Director of Data Usage and Technology Innovation for HISA. “We look forward to rolling this tool out to all racetracks under HISA’s jurisdiction. This collaboration with Palantir puts us at the forefront of sports technology, and I have no doubt this partnership will be a game changer for the safety of equine athletes.”

HISA expects to begin using this tool in early 2024. It will send daily reports to racetracks and regulatory veterinarians around the country that will provide them with the data and resources they need to promote horses’ safety and wellbeing.

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.