Monday, March 09, 2009Contact: Eric Wing
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New accreditation for US race tracks

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that a comprehensive set of safety and integrity compliance standards has been approved by the NTRA Board of Directors for use by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. The standards serve as the basis for Alliance accreditation, which will begin later this month.

Among the first racetracks that will go through the newly established accreditation process of the Alliance are the three Triple Crown venues—Churchill Downs, Pimlico Race Course and Belmont Park. Keeneland, Delaware Park and Hollywood Park—all of which have race meetings beginning in the month of April—will also be among the first tracks to undergo Alliance review. Two other Churchill Downs Incorporated properties commencing their 2009 meetings this spring—Calder Race Course and Arlington Park—also will be in the first group of Alliance members to take part in the accreditation process.

“The Alliance’s compliance standards are the culmination of a collaborative effort among all segments of the horse racing industry,” said Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the NTRA. “Alliance members are committed to uniform implementation of these important safety and integrity initiatives in a timely and transparent manner. Today is another important step in that process.”

The Alliance, formed last October with the goal of establishing national uniform standards in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America and every major national horsemen’s organization. Adherence to Alliance certification standards will be a prerequisite for racetrack accreditation. Standards cover five broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; and safety research. Within those five categories, specific standards will focus on many areas including:

  • Systematic reporting of equine injuries
  • Aftercare of racehorses
  • Pre- and post-race veterinary examinations
  • Post-mortem examinations
  • Health and safety of jockeys
  • Riding crops and their use
  • Horse shoes and hoof care
  • Safety research
  • Safety equipment for jockeys and horse handlers
  • Exogenous Anabolic Steroids
  • Alkalinizing agents (TCO2)
  • On-track emergency medical care for humans and equines
  • Out-of-competition testing
  • Freezing and retrospective testing of post race samples
  • Continuing education
  • Security assessment and training

    The accreditation program initially will focus on human and equine safety, but will be expanded to cover additional areas, including wagering security. The accreditation process will include a written application to be submitted by the member and an on-site visit by an Alliance safety team that will perform inspections and conduct interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, regulators and customers, among others. The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson, former four-term Governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, serves as independent counsel of the Alliance and will provide public reports on Alliance progress in instituting safety and integrity standards.

    The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance is a standing organization whose purpose is to establish standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horseracing and to secure their implementation. Information on the Alliance, including the complete compliance standards document, can be found at