The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Ellis Park has received its initial accreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance, bringing the number of active accreditations to 24 racetracks in the U.S. and Canada, including every Thoroughbred track in Kentucky.
“On behalf of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) and its Safety and Welfare Committee we appreciate the commitment from each of Kentucky’s racetracks to achieve accreditation,” said Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, Chair of the KHRC Safety and Welfare Committee. “We look forward to a continued partnership with all of Kentucky’s tracks, our horsemen, and the Safety & Integrity Alliance in promoting the safety of our athletes and the integrity of our racing.”
Located in Henderson, Ky., just south of Evansville, Ind., on the only sliver of Kentucky north of the Ohio River, Ellis Park is owned by Saratoga Casino & Hospitality Group, the former minority owner which purchased the track outright last month. The 2018 live race meet runs through Sept. 3, Fridays to Sundays, plus the special Closing Day holiday program on Labor Day, Sept. 3, with no racing Sept. 1. Historical Horse Racing and simulcast wagering are available seven days per week.
The accreditation of Ellis Park 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, horsemen, veterinarians, stewards and regulators.
The on-site inspection was conducted by Mike Kilpack, security and integrity consultant, past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance; Cathy O’Meara, racing operations consultant, coordinator of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program; and Dr. Greg Taylor, veterinary and regulatory consultant, longtime Ontario Racing Commission veterinarian, association vet at Woodbine, and member of the Breeders’ Cup veterinary panel.
“Achieving the Alliance Code of Standards and full accredited status requires much diligence and cooperation from all stakeholders,” said Koch. “That Kentucky racing has achieved accreditation at all of its racetracks is a credit to the racetracks, the horsemen, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, and numerous passionate officials and staff.”
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 and testing; jockey health and welfare; and wagering security.
“The team at Ellis Park, our horsemen and our officials are firmly committed to a safe racing and training program,” said Ellis Park General Manager Jeff Hall. “We are pleased to achieve this distinction and look forward to continued progress in these areas.”
Ellis Park is one of 24 racing facilities fully accredited by the Alliance that together host 96 percent of Grade 1 stakes and generate more than 75 percent of North American pari-mutuel handle. The other accredited racetracks are Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Indiana Grand, Kentucky Downs, Keeneland, 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. Accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
The NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance is a standing organization establishing standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horseracing and to secure their implementation. Corporate partners of the Alliance include Insurance Office of America and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at NTRAalliance.com.