Saturday, September 26, 2009 12:00 AM
NTRA release . . . September 26, 2009 . . . The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced that Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Turfway Park is the 10th 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; Arlington Park and Saratoga Race Course received accreditation in August; and Calder Race Course was accredited earlier this month. Pimlico Race Course was granted provisional accreditation in May.
The accreditation of Turfway Park was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Turfway 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 official Richard Lewis; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
"Turfway Park was reviewed on September 17th and 18th during its current meeting," said Ziegler. "It exceeded established benchmarks in the majority of areas, and industry-wide best practices were established with respect to post-mortem veterinary examinations; the use of safety helmets, safety vests and safer riding crops by all riders; and the establishment of an in-house, written enforcement program so that all aspects of the Alliance can be routinely adhered to by all."
"I am proud of this favorable report and will work to further improve any areas where we are not already ahead of the curve," said Robert Elliston, President and CEO of Turfway Park. "We have no greater priority here at Turfway than the health and safety of the human and equine athletes who give it their all each and every day."
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.
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 monitor of the Alliance and will provide public reports on Alliance progress in instituting safety and integrity standards.