The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Sunland Park in Sunland Park, N.M., has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. The re-accreditation followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Sunland Park received its initial Alliance accreditation in December 2010. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
Sunland Park is the 18th Alliance-accredited racetrack to earn re-accreditation, joining Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Golden Gate Fields, Keeneland Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Turfway Park and Woodbine.
The re-accreditation of Sunland Park was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Sunland hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, with special attention paid to areas that were newly added to the Alliance’s Code of Standards in 2011 and 2012. Such areas containing new or more stringent requirements include wagering security, race day security, Model Rules pertaining to Furosemide administration and Phenylbutazone threshold levels, injury reporting, post-mortem veterinary inspections, jockey health and safety, paddock safety, aftercare/transitioning of retired racehorses and cross-jurisdictional sharing of vet’s list data. Interviews were also conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ronald Jensen, DVM; racing official Richard Lewis; Mike Kilpack of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators (ORI); and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
During the latest Alliance inspection of Sunland Park, best practices were identified in areas including fire safety planning and procedures; paddock safety protocols and procedures; security plan; security training; and wagering security protocols, including simulcast sales contract language, exclusion of pools when timing is non-verifiable; policy as a guest when excluded; timing display and synchronization on video broadcast and totalisator, cancel delay elimination, use of latest version of Inter Tote System Protocol; and wagering incident investigation protocols.
“Sunland Park was inspected during its current, live meeting,” said Ziegler. “The track exhibited a solid commitment to the safety and integrity of its racing and wagering operations. The work they’ve done with the New Mexico Racing Commission and their horsemen in meeting the minimum standards set forth in the Alliance Code demonstrate this commitment.”
“I’m pleased that Sunland Park has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance,” said Harold Payne, General Manager of Sunland Park. “Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our human and equine participants and the integrity of our racing product. I congratulate the many employees here who worked diligently to achieve this recognition.
Sunland Park is one of 23 racing facilities currently fully accredited by the Alliance. Others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood 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 Race Course, Kentucky Downs, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, 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 Pfizer Animal Health, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at www.NTRAalliance.com.