The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, Calif., near Los Angeles, has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.
Since 1934, Santa Anita has been one of America’s leading racetracks, showcasing Hall of Fame legends like Seabiscuit, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, John Henry, and Zenyatta. In addition to signature fixtures like the Santa Anita Handicap and Santa Anita Derby, “The Great Race Place” has hosted nine Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
Santa Anita’s 52-day Spring Meet opened April 14 and continues Thursdays to Sundays, plus Memorial Day (May 28), through June 24.
The reaccreditation of Santa Anita 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, owners, trainers, veterinarians, stewards and regulators.
The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Ron Jensen, DVM (veterinary and regulatory consultant), former equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board; Mike Kilpack (security and integrity consultant), past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance; and Cathy O’Meara (racing operations consultant), coordinator of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program.
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.
“Santa Anita is always proud to stand at the forefront of racetrack safety and integrity,” said Rick Hammerle, the track’s vice president of racing and racing secretary. “Every decision here is made with the safety of our human and equine athletes in mind.”
Santa Anita has been continuously accredited since 2009, the Alliance’s inaugural year. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
Santa Anita is one of 23 racing facilities fully accredited by the Alliance that together host 96 percent of Grade 1 stakes and attract 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, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park, Turfway Park, and Woodbine.
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.