LEXINGTON, Ky. (Thursday, March 3, 2016) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Aqueduct Racetrack in New York City has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.
Aqueduct, located in the borough of Queens since 1894, is part of the not-for-profit New York Racing Association franchise. The current Inner Track Meet runs through March 26 (Thursdays to Sundays) and is highlighted by Saturday’s $400,000 Gotham (G3) for 3-year-olds aspiring to the Triple Crown. The prestigious Spring Meet goes March 31 to April 24 (Wednesdays to Sundays), highlighted by the $1 million Wood Memorial (G1), a key final prep for the Kentucky Derby, on April 9.
The reaccreditation of Aqueduct was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of an extensive written application and continued as the track hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing operations. Interviews were conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, veterinarians, stewards and regulators. The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Ron Jensen, DVM, former equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board; Mike Kilpack, security and integrity consultant and past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance; and Richard Lewis, former trainer and Northern California racing executive and current California Horse Racing Board steward.
Alliance certification standards address an extensive list of safety and integrity concerns within six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; safety research; and wagering security.
“New York racing always sets very high standards for safety and integrity at their racetracks, Aqueduct in particular,” Koch said. “The NYRA team exemplifies numerous Best Practice safety initiatives and we thank them for their leadership in setting a high bar in these areas.”
Aqueduct received its initial accreditation in 2009, the Alliance’s first year. All accreditations and reaccreditations carry an effective period of two years.
“We are proud to have received a favorable report following the Alliance’s inspection of Aqueduct Racetrack,” said Glen Kozak, NYRA Vice President of Facilities and Racing Surfaces. “The integrity of our operations, and the safety of our equine athletes and the jockeys who ride them, remain at the core of what we do here. We will continue to commit our efforts and resources to improve our standards on the behalf of all those who participate in, and enjoy, racing at Aqueduct as well as Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.”
Aqueduct is one of 23 racing facilities fully accredited by the Alliance that together host 94 percent of Grade I stakes and attract more than 70 percent of North American pari-mutuel handle. The others are Belmont Park, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park West, Indiana Grand, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Laurel Park, Los Alamitos Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park, Turfway Park and Woodbine.
The NTRA Safety & 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. Corporate partners of the Alliance include Lockton Insurance and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at NTRAalliance.com.