The West Virginia Racing Commission approved a rule today requiring that the state’s two Thoroughbred racetracks – Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races – seek accreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance. The new rule calls for tracks to submit their initial application for accreditation within 45 days (Nov. 4).
“Alliance accreditation is an important and tangible way of demonstrating to the public that horse racing is being conducted at a level consistent with national safety and integrity standards,” said Steve Koch, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance. “We applaud the West Virginia Racing Commission for taking this important step and we look forward to working with regulators, racetracks and horsemen on this critical initiative.”
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.
The accreditation process includes completion of an extensive written application, followed by an on-site review including inspections of all facets of the racing operations. Interviews are conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, veterinarians, stewards and regulators.
The 24 tracks presently accredited host 96 percent of Grade 1 stakes and attract 74 percent of North American pari-mutuel handle. Those tracks 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, Gulfstream Park West, Indiana Grand, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Laurel Park, Los Alamitos Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, 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.