NEW YORK CITY (Wednesday, June 25, 2014) – Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, Ind., a track on the rise following multiple purse increases and millions in renovations to their surfaces and facility, has earned accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today. The 12-year-old racetrack was known as Indiana Downs prior to its current season, which opened May 6 and continues through Nov. 1.
Indiana Grand is owned and operated by Centaur Gaming, a new member of the NTRA. Centaur also owns nearby Hoosier Park, which has conducted Standardbred racing only since last year. The company also operates off-track betting locations throughout Indiana.
Centaur’s recent renovations include installation of a new main track, four new barns housing more than 300 stalls (bringing total backstretch capacity to more than 1,000 horses) and a new, state-of-the-art LED video board in the infield.
“We are very proud to welcome Centaur Gaming as a member of the NTRA, especially in light of their exemplary initial review from our Safety and Integrity Alliance,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA. “Indiana Grand’s significant investment in their racing product and customer experience continues to win fans across the industry. Between the leadership of the tracks and the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, a recent adopter of the national uniform medication rules, racing’s future appears bright in The Hoosier State.”
Tens of millions of dollars worth of additional improvements at Indiana Grand are in the planning stages, including new and renovated backstretch dormitories, as well as more substantial clubhouse and grandstand improvements.
Indiana Grand’s last full Thoroughbred meet offered purses totaling $26.93 million for average daily purses of $236,248.
This season’s marquee Oct. 4 program will feature nine stakes, cumulatively worth $1.34 million, highlighted by the $500,000 Indiana Derby (GII) and the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (GII).
Indiana Grand’s accreditation followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. All accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
During the Alliance inspection of Indiana Grand, best practices were identified in most primary areas of focus for the Alliance.
In the area of injury reporting and prevention, best practices identified included the reporting of injuries and fatalities, pre- and post-race veterinary inspections and post-mortem veterinary examinations.
In areas intended to create a safer racing environment, best practices cited at Indiana Grand included regulation and enforcement for riding crops and safety vests; use of padded starting gates; mandatory presence of an equine ambulance during racing; substance abuse and addiction treatment; appropriate contributions to industry safety research; data collection and storage to enhance racing surface maintenance; required safety training for all track employees that come in contact with horses; continuing education for trainers and stewards; adoption of the Uniform National Trainers Test (implemented by Indiana Horse Racing Commission); plans and protocols for infectious disease management; fire safety planning and procedures; and appropriate oversight of the Official Veterinarian.
Regarding the health and safety of jockeys, best practices recognized included protocols for post parade or starting gate scratches; appropriate standards for licensing jockeys; minimum $1 million accident medical expense coverage for all jockeys; posting of jockey insurance coverage in the jockeys’ quarters; and participation in the Jockeys’ Guild’s Jockey Injury Database for collection of data associated with rider injuries.
In the area of equine drug testing and penalties, best practices identified included implementation of Association of Racing Commissioners International model rules, based on Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) recommendations; alkalinizing agent regulation; exogenous anabolic steroids regulation; extracorpeal shock wave therapy regulation; out-of-competition blood doping and gene doping testing on- and off-track; RMTC accreditation of the track’s official testing laboratory, HFL Sports Science in Lexington, Ky.; and communication protocols for new and proposed changes to medication and testing regulations and protocols.
Indiana Grand also was commended for best practices in protocols relating to security across several areas, including: hiring, pre-employment drug testing, training, staffing, communications, surveillance, access to restricted areas, shipping procedures and record keeping, test barn protocol and licensing. Regarding wagering security, best practices were recognized for wagering incident prevention.
“I am very pleased that Indiana Grand has become the newest track to be accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance,” said Jon Schuster, Indiana Grand vice president and general manager of racing. “We have worked diligently, and invested a lot of resources, to ensure our race course is the safest, our facilities are the best kept, and our procedures are the best practices within the industry.
“It is truly a pleasure to work for an organization that is investing so much in our industry, that is forward looking, and that has put in place a team, from top to bottom, that cares about the horses, all the human participants, and every important detail about racing both on a state and national level.”
Added Schuster: “I offer my sincerest thanks and gratitude to the entire Indiana Grand team, our partners – the horsemen – and to the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance for their tireless effort to make racing as good and safe as it can possibly be. This is a big milestone for us, and it truly underscores the value of partnership.”
The accreditation of Indiana Grand was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Centaur Gaming 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 Ron Jensen, DVM, 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 (ORI); Richard Lewis, former trainer and Northern California racing executive; and Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
Indiana Grand is one of 23 racing facilities currently fully accredited by the Alliance. Others are Aqueduct Racetrack, 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 Lockton and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at www.NTRAalliance.com.