Numerous Best Practices Identified at Track and in Kentucky
NEW YORK CITY (Friday, March 21, 2014) – The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) today announced that Turfway Park has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. Located in Northern Kentucky, outside of Cincinnati, the track hosts its biggest annual racing program Saturday, highlighted by the $550,000 Spiral Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail.
Turfway’s re-accreditation followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Turfway received its initial Alliance accreditation in 2009, the Alliance’s first year. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
During the latest Alliance inspection of Turfway, best practices were identified in virtually every primary area of focus for the Alliance.
“In its review, Turfway Park exceeded established benchmarks in the majority of areas,” said Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. “This re-accreditation reflects positively on the longstanding commitment to safety by Turfway management, as well as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.”
In the area of injury reporting and prevention, best practices identified included the reporting of injuries and fatalities, pre- and post-race veterinary examinations, and the maintenance of a Veterinarians’ List adhering to the RCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International) model rules.
In areas intended to create a safer racing environment, best practices cited at Turfway included regulation and enforcement for riding crops and safety vests; substance abuse and addiction treatment; adoption of the Uniform National Trainers Test (implemented by Kentucky Horse Racing Commission); catastrophic injury planning and procedures; 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; use of the recommended scale of weights; minimum accident medical expense coverage ($1 million) for all jockeys; and posting of jockey insurance coverage in the jockeys’ quarters.
In the area of equine drug testing and penalties, best practices identified included alkalinizing agent regulation; exogenous anabolic steroids regulation; frozen sample testing (performed by HFL Sports Science and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission); and Racing Medication and Testing Consortium (RMTC) accreditation of the track’s official testing laboratory, HFL Sports Science in Lexington, Ky.
Turfway 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, wagering incident investigation and due diligence for access to wagering pools.
“Turfway values all efforts to continuously improve upon the safety of the sport and the integrity of the game,” said track general manager Chip Bach. “We are proud of the fact that we reflect many ‘best-in-class’ practices and continue to help set the standards for Thoroughbred racing.”
The re-accreditation of Turfway was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Turfway 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 2012 and 2013. Such areas containing new or more stringent requirements include the establishment of an injury review committee; starting-gate-removal protocols; recording and storage of racing surface data; regulatory veterinarian protocols and procedures; and post parade/starting gate scratch protocols. 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; Richard Lewis, former trainer and Northern California racing executive; Mike Kilpack, security and integrity consultant and past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators (ORI); and Ziegler.
Turfway is one of 22 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, 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.