The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Saratoga Race Course, home to one of the world’s most prestigious annual race meets, has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.
Located in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., the 153-year-old racetrack is in the midst of a 40-day stand with live racing Wednesdays to Mondays, plus a Labor Day holiday card on Closing Day, Sept. 5. The meet features 69 stakes races – 37 of them graded – worth a record $18.725 million. Travers Day on Aug. 27 includes six Grade 1 events, topped by the 147th running of the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers, for top 3-year-olds. There are Grade 1 races every Saturday of the season and 18 overall.
The reaccreditation of Saratoga – owned and operated by the New York Racing Association (NYRA) – 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 Jim Gates, racetrack operations consultant, former general manager of Churchill Downs; 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; and Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.
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; uniform medication and testing; jockey health and welfare; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; and wagering security.
Saratoga is one of three racetracks that make up the NYRA franchise along with Aqueduct Racetrack and Belmont Park. All three NYRA racetracks have been accredited since 2009, the Alliance’s first year. Accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
Saratoga is one of 23 racing facilities fully accredited by the Alliance – including all three of the NYRA tracks – that together host 96 percent of Grade 1 stakes and attract 74 percent of North American pari-mutuel handle. The others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park West, Indiana Grand, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Laurel Park, Los Alamitos Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park, Turfway Park and Woodbine.
The NTRA Safety & 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 Insurance and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at NTRAalliance.com.