Contact: Eric Wing (212) 521-5316
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley, Calif., 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. Golden Gate received its initial Alliance accreditation in February 2010. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
Golden Gate Fields is the 15th Alliance-accredited racetrack to earn re-accreditation, joining Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Keeneland Race Course, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Turfway Park and Woodbine.
The re-accreditation of Golden Gate Fields was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Golden Gate 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 2011 and 2012. Such areas containing new or more stringent requirements include wagering security, race day security, Model Rules pertaining to Furosemide administration and Phenylbutazone threshold levels, injury reporting, post-mortem veterinary inspections, jockey health and safety, paddock safety, aftercare/transitioning of retired racehorses and cross-jurisdictional sharing of vet’s list data. Interviews were also conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Jennifer Durenberger, DVM, JD; Jim Gates, racetrack executive; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
During the latest Alliance inspection of Golden Gate Fields, best practices were identified in areas including post-mortem veterinary examinations; maintenance and sharing of veterinarian’s list data; safety helmet and safety vest use; presence of safety oversight officials; regulation of shock wave therapy; medication testing education; jockey disability support; and wagering security protocols, including cancel delays, exclusion of pools when non-verifiable, the track’s policy for refunding tickets when Golden Gate is excluded as a guest pool, timing display and synchronization, and wagering incident investigation protocols.
“Golden Gate Fields was inspected during its current, live meeting,” said Ziegler. “As is the case with all of The Stronach Group racetracks, Golden Gate has demonstrated a very strong commitment to the ongoing safety and integrity of its racing and wagering operations.” “We are delighted to have earned this important re-accreditation,” said Joe Morris, Vice President and Interim General Manager of Golden Gate Fields. “Since Golden Gate Fields first opened in 1941, the safety of our human and equine athletes has always been top-of-mind, and never more so than it is today. I wish to thank everyone on our staff who worked so tirelessly to help us achieve this distinction.”
Golden Gate Fields is one of 21 racing facilities currently fully accredited by the Alliance. Others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack, Gulfstream Park, Keeneland Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park, Turfway Park and Woodbine. Accreditation of Kentucky Downs is currently pending.
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.