Expanded Sections Include Horse Safety and Track Maintenance

NEW YORK CITY (Friday, April 4, 2014) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that an updated set of racetrack safety and integrity standards has been circulated to members of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, and that it is now available for public comment. After finalization, the compliance standards will serve as the basis for future racetrack Alliance accreditation. 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. Twenty-two racetracks are fully accredited.

The Alliance’s Code of Standards for 2014 can be reviewed at www.NTRAalliance.com, and comments on the revised Code may be submitted via email to alliance@ntra.com.

For 2014, the Code of Standards has been expanded to encourage adoption of a model rule stating that every licensee shall do “all that is reasonable and within his/her power and scope of duty” to prevent all prohibited substances from being used on a horse entered to race or recording an official workout. The rule also forbids any form of “cruelty, mistreatment, neglect or abuse” of any animal and requires the establishment of a process (such as a toll-free hotline) for reporting such instances.

Also expanded in the 2014 Code are Racing Surface Maintenance standards that call for electronic data collection protocols to monitor weather, watering, maintenance, material addition and surveying, as well as turf-specific data on re-sodding and cut lengths. Quality control measurements should also be conducted on moisture, cushion depth and material composition.

Another new addition to the Code is a stipulation that members whose drug testing lab has not begun the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium’s lab accreditation process by Jan. 1, 2015, will have their Safety and Integrity Accreditation revoked or denied.

Compliance standards cover six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; medication and testing; jockey safety and health; and wagering security. Within those six categories, specific standards will focus on many areas including:

  • Systematic reporting of equine injuries
  • Aftercare of retired racehorses
  • Pre- and post-race veterinary examinations
  • Post-mortem exams
  • Health and safety of jockeys
  • Riding crops and their use
  • Horse shoes and hoof care
  • Safety research, including racing surfaces
  • Safety equipment for jockeys and horse handlers
  • Safety training
  • 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
  • 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. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at www.NTRAalliance.com.

About the NTRA

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of more than 80 horse racing interests consisting of leading Thoroughbred racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers, horseplayers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity of horse racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on NTRA.com, Twitter (@ntra) and Facebook (facebook.com/1NTRA).