LEXINGTON, Ky. (Thursday, September 4, 2014) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Canterbury Park has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. Located in Shakopee, Minn., near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the track will conclude one of the most successful live racing meets in its 30-year history on Sept. 13. Closing Day is headlined by the season’s richest race, the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby (3-year-olds at one mile on turf) and also will feature an “Indian Horse Relay” exhibition with bareback riders in traditional Native American regalia.
Canterbury Park received its initial Alliance accreditation in 2010. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
In addition to its annual summer Thoroughbred racing season, Canterbury hosts year-round simulcasting and operates a card casino. The track is owned by the publicly traded Canterbury Park Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: CPHC). A 10-year cooperative marketing and purse enhancement agreement between Canterbury and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, which operates the nearby Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, has caused purses to double in a span of three years.
“Safety and integrity have always been important at Canterbury Park and I am very proud of the work our racing staff has done to earn re-accreditation by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance,” said Eric Halstrom, the track’s vice president of racing operations. “Racing is on the rise in Minnesota and this provides assurance to horsemen that Canterbury Park places a very high priority on the safety of horses, jockeys and employees.”
In the area of injury reporting and prevention, best practices identified included post-race veterinary inspections by official veterinarians, required post-mortem veterinary examinations, and regular meetings of an injury review committee.
In areas intended to create a safer racing environment, best practices cited at Canterbury included required safety vests for anyone mounted on a horse at any time, use of a padded starting gate, support of an on-site substance abuse and addiction treatment program, detailed catastrophic injury protocols, appropriate guidelines for infectious disease management, well-managed protocols for paddock and walking ring safety, sufficient oversight of the official veterinarian by the regulatory authority, and fair notice of house rules.
In the area of equine drug testing and penalties, best practices identified included exogenous anabolic steroids regulation and testing protocols; Racing Medication Testing Consortium (RMTC) accreditation of the track’s official testing laboratory, Industrial Laboratories of Denver, Colo.; and coordination of a medication and testing education committee.
Regarding the health and safety of jockeys, best practices recognized included appropriate funding of jockey disability support programs, specifically the Leg Up Fund for Canterbury-based riders and the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
For aftercare and transition of retired racehorses, Canterbury achieved a best-practice rating for its proven rescue and rehabilitation program, which collects $2 per start from horsemen, an amount that is then matched by the track.
Canterbury also was commended for best practices in protocols relating to security across several areas, including wagering incident investigation protocols and wagering pool due diligence (adopting of minimum standards for access into simulcast wagering pools).
The accreditation of Canterbury was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Canterbury hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility. Interviews were also conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Ron Jensen, 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; Richard Lewis, former trainer and Northern California racing executive; and Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
Canterbury is one of 24 racing facilities currently fully accredited by the Alliance. Others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Fairplex Park, Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, 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 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.