The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced that Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility.
Arlington Park is the seventh racing facility to be so designated by the Alliance. Churchill Downs and Keeneland were accredited in April; Belmont Park received accreditation in May; Delaware Park and Hollywood Park were accredited in June; and Monmouth Park was accredited last week. Pimlico Race Course was granted provisional accreditation in May.
The accreditation of Arlington 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 Arlington Park 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, regulators, and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Jennifer Durenberger, DVM; racing executive Stan Bowker, and Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity AllianceMike Ziegler.
"Arlington Park was reviewed on July 15-16 during its current meeting," said Ziegler. "They excelled in many areas, specifically in track security, their equine ambulances and protocols involved with care of injured horses, and their medication and testing program, in affiliation with the Illinois Racing Board."
"Arlington Park has always prided itself on providing a safe environment for both our human and equine participants as underscored by our receiving full accreditation by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance," said Roy A. Arnold, President of Arlington Park.
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:
• 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;
The accreditation program initially will focus on human and equine safety, but it will be expanded to cover additional areas, including wagering security.
Calder Race Course, Del Mar, and Saratoga Race Course 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 horse racing 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.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.