The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced the Thoroughbred racetrack Belmont Park, home of the Belmont Stakes, has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. The Elmont, N.Y., racetrack is the third racing facility to be so designated by the Alliance. Churchill Downs and Keeneland in Kentucky were accredited in April, and Pimlico Race Course received provisional accreditation in May.
The accreditation of Belmont was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track's completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Belmont hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, and regulators. It was led by Ronald Jensen, DVM; racing official Richard Lewis; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
"I am pleased to announce that Belmont Park, one of the nation's most beautiful and historic racetracks, has been accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance," said Waldrop. "Belmont has displayed an uncompromising commitment to the safety of the human and equine athletes who compete on its grounds."
"Our inspection team was very impressed by the facility when we reviewed it during the current spring meeting," said Ziegler. "Belmont, in fact, exceeded the Alliance's Code of Standards in several areas, including pre-and post-race examinations, injury reporting, equine ambulances and security training."
"The safety of our human and equine athletes is of paramount importance to all of us here at Belmont Park," said Charles Hayward, President and CEO of the New York Racing Association. "We are proud to know that Belmont meets, and in many cases exceeds, the high standards established by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance, and we will strive for similar outcomes during Alliance inspections of Saratoga Race Course and Aqueduct Racetrack later in the year."
The Alliance, formed last October 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 five broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; and safety research. Within those five categories, specific standards focus on areas including:
The accreditation program initially will focus on human and equine safety, but will be expanded to cover additional areas, including wagering security.
Arlington Park, Calder Race Course, Emerald Downs and Monmouth Park are among the next racetracks that will undergo Alliance review.
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. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at NTRAalliance.com.
The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson, former four-term Governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, serves as independent counsel of the Alliance and will provide public reports on Alliance progress in instituting safety and integrity standards.
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