Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saratoga receives accreditation by Safety Alliance

Eric Wing, Special to NTRA.com

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced that Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Saratoga is the eighth racing facility to be so designated by the Alliance. Churchill Downs and Keeneland were accredited in April; Belmont Park received accreditation in May; Delaware Park and Hollywood Park were accredited in June; Monmouth Park was accredited in July; and Arlington Park received accreditation earlier this month. Pimlico Race Course was granted provisional accreditation in May.

The accreditation of Saratoga was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Saratoga hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, regulators and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ronald Jensen, DVM; racing industry executive Dan Fick and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. Observing the inspection was the Alliance’s independent monitor, former Wisconsin Governor and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy Thompson.

"Saratoga was reviewed on August 5-7 during its current meeting," said Ziegler. "It exceeded prescribed benchmarks on many fronts, with industry-wide best practices established in the areas of security planning, aftercare and transitioning of retired racehorses and the recording of post-race jockey weights."

"We are proud to know that Saratoga Race Course, like Belmont Park, meets and often exceeds the exacting standards called for by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance," said Charles Hayward, President and CEO of the New York Racing Association. "Our next goal is to achieve a similar finding when Aqueduct Racetrack is inspected later in the year."

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. Alliance certification 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 focus on 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.

Calder Race Course and Del Mar are among the next racetracks that will undergo Alliance review.

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 Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at www.NTRAalliance.com.

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.

1 comment:

D.S. Williamson said...

This is great news! Thanks for sharing this! DS Williamson

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