(Edited press release)
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced June 17 that Delaware Park in Stanton, Del., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility.
Delaware Park is the fourth racing facility to be so designated by the alliance. Churchill Downs and Keeneland were accredited in April; Belmont Park received accreditation in May; and Pimlico Race Course was granted provisional accreditation in May.
The accreditation of Delaware 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 Delaware 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 and regulators. It was led by Jennifer Durenberger, DVM, racing official Richard Lewis; and Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
A ceremony at the track to recognize Delaware Park’s accreditation was scheduled for June 17. Attendees will include Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and the Tommy G. Thompson, former four-term governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, who serves as independent counsel of the alliance.
“I am happy to report that Delaware Park, one of the nation’s most picturesque racetracks and home to the $1 million Delaware Handicap this summer, has been accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA. “Delaware Park is to be commended for its commitment to the human and equine athletes who compete there.”
“We reviewed Delaware Park in late April during its current meeting,” said Ziegler. “The inspection went extremely well, with the announcement of accreditation slightly delayed pending the creation of formal, written policies which are now completed.”
“We are delighted that the NTRA has recognized the commitment that Delaware Park has made to the safety and integrity of thoroughbred racing,” said William Fasy, COO of Delaware Park. “In cooperation with the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission, our horsemen and our jockeys, we have been on the forefront of industry efforts to get steroids out of racing and to make racing safer for all involved. Just as important, we also have implemented a racehorse retirement program, endorsed by our horsemen, that provides a way for former racehorses to move into second careers. All of these efforts allow us to present racing that is as safe, fair and humane as possible.”
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
--Health and safety of jockeys
--Riding crops and their use
--Horse shoes and hoof care
--Safety equipment for jockeys and horse handlers
--Exogenous Anabolic Steroids
--Alkalinizing agents (TCO2)
--On-track emergency medical care for humans and equines
--Freezing and retrospective testing of post race samples
--Security assessment and training
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.