Numerous Best Practices Identified at Track and in California
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, CA, has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. The re-accreditation followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Betfair Hollywood Park, which is scheduled to conclude racing in December 2013, received its initial Alliance accreditation in June 2009.
During the latest Alliance inspection of Betfair Hollywood Park, best practices were identified in virtually every primary area of focus of the Alliance.
In the area of injury reporting and prevention, best practices identified included participation in the Equine Injury Database; pre-race and post-race veterinary examination protocols of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) regulatory and track veterinarians; the California Post Mortem Program; and Veterinarians’ List protocols of the CHRB.
In areas intended to create a safer racing environment, best practices cited at Hollywood included toe grab, cushion crop and safety helmet regulation and enforcement; starting gate padding and protocols for its manning and removal; equine ambulance equipment and protocols; rider medical care and ambulance support; protocols in case of catastrophic injury; fire safety preparedness; infectious disease management and prevention protocols; and ensuring practicing veterinarians are on the grounds when horses are present;
In the area of equine drug testing and penalties, best practices identified included TC02 regulation and testing procedures; the CHRB out of competition testing program; and accreditation of the University of California, Davis Testing Lab.
Relating to safety research, best practices were cited for Hollywood’s participation in a number of research programs geared toward the betterment of racing,
Hollywood also was cited for best practices in areas focused on fundraising for retired racehorses and disabled riders, its affiliation with a substance abuse program for individuals and its wagering security programs geared toward incident prevention and investigation.
The re-accreditation of Betfair Hollywood Park was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Hollywood Park hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, with special attention paid to areas that were newly added to the Alliance’s Code of Standards in 2012 and 2013. Such areas containing new or more stringent requirements include the establishment of an injury review committee; starting-gate-removal protocols; recording and storage of racing surface data; regulatory veterinarian protocols and procedures; and post parade/starting gate scratch protocols. Interviews were also conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ronald Jensen, DVM; racing official Richard Lewis; Mike Kilpack of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators (ORI); and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
“It was refreshing to work on the re-accreditation of Betfair Hollywood Park. Even though it is closing at the end of this year, all involved with operating the track continue to place the highest priority on the safety of the human and equine athletes and the integrity of the racing product,” said Ziegler. “I am encouraged by the efforts made by the track, the California Horse Racing Board, the horsemen and all involved with racing in California to continually operate with safety and integrity as the top priority.”
“On behalf of Betfair Hollywood Park, we are very pleased to have earned re-accreditation from the Safety & Integrity Alliance,” said Jack Liebau, President of Betfair Hollywood Park. “There is nothing more important for the industry than to do all we can to ensure that racing is conducted in the safest possible environment and with a high degree of integrity.”
Betfair Hollywood Park is one of 25 racing facilities currently fully accredited by the Alliance. Others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Fairplex Park, Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Laurel Park, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park, Turfway Park and Woodbine.
The Alliance, formed in October 2008 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 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. Within those six 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
- Totalizator technology and “stop wagering” protocols
- Wagering incident investigation
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. Corporate partners of the Alliance include Pfizer Animal Health, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at www.NTRAalliance.com.