The Oak Tree Racing Association and Santa Anita Park, site Nov. 6-7 for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships—for the second straight year-—have been accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance, it was announced Oct. 29 in a release.
Oak Tree at Santa Anita is the 12th 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 in June; Monmouth Park in July; Arlington Park and Saratoga Race Course in August; and Calder Race Course, Turfway Park and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in September. Pimlico Race Course was granted provisional accreditation in May.
The accreditation process includes the completion of a 48-page written application, as well an on-site review and inspection of all facets of the racing facility, interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, regulators, and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Celeste Kunz; Stan Bowker, chairman of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
"Oak Tree was reviewed during its recent live meeting," said Ziegler. "It exceeded prescribed benchmarks on the vast majority of fronts and established industry-wide best practices in no fewer than 11 areas including post-mortem veterinary examinations, shoes and hoof care, equine ambulance protocol, safety training and continuing education, out-of-competition testing, frozen-sample testing, and testing for alkalinizing substances and exogenous steroids."
"We are proud that Oak Tree received such strong ratings in so many aspects of its racing operations at Santa Anita," said Sherwood Chillingworth, executive vice president of the Oak Tree Racing Association. "We take our responsibilities very seriously with respect to the safety of our human and equine competitors."