The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility.
The accreditation of Kentucky Downs was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Kentucky Downs hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ronald Jensen, DVM; Mike Kilpack of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators (ORI); and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
“Kentucky Downs was reviewed during its most recent live meeting in September 2011,” said Ziegler. “It received ‘Best Practice’ ratings in many areas including pre-race examination protocols; post-mortem veterinary examinations; maintenance of the veterinarians’ list; use of the cushioned riding crop and safety vest; padded starting gate; substance abuse and addiction protocols; infectious disease management; testing for alkalinizing substances; out-of-competition testing; security protocols; medication and testing education; and a host of wagering security procedures including stop wagering mechanisms, simulcast contract language, elimination of cancel delays, exclusion of pools when non-verifiable, timing display and synchronization on video broadcast and totalisator; state-of-the-art tote technology; and wagering incident investigation protocols.
“Kentucky Downs exceeded the Alliance Code of Standards benchmarks in numerous areas,” continued Ziegler. “Its accreditation was delayed until now, however, pending satisfaction of all Alliance requirements. With all areas now fully satisfied, Kentucky Downs is the rightful recipient of an exemplary report from the Safety and Integrity Alliance inspection team.”
“We are proud of the high marks our facility received from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance inspection team in such a wide variety of areas,” said Corey Johnsen, President of Kentucky Downs. “Though our race meeting is of a short duration, we feel that our dedication to the safety of our athletes and the integrity of our racing product is second to none.”
Kentucky Downs is now the 24th racing facility to receive full accreditation, joining Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Belmont Park, Delaware Park, Hollywood Park, Monmouth Park, Arlington Park, Saratoga Race Course, Calder Race Course, Turfway Park, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Oak Tree at Santa Anita, Fair Grounds, Aqueduct Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Woodbine, Pimlico, Canterbury Park, Sunland Park, Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack, Suffolk Downs, Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park.
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
  • Totalisator 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. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at