A week after announcing a major safety and integrity initiative for horse racing, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association board of directors said it has launched a national search for an executive director to spearhead the endeavor.
The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance has been in the works for months but was officially announced Oct. 15 with broad membership. Thus far, there are 55 racetracks and all major horsemen’s organizations on board through the initial stages of the effort to bring about reform in equine medication and drug testing, safety research, a safer racing environment, after-care for retired racehorses, and injury reporting and prevention.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is overseeing compliance for the alliance. Thompson, who at one time headed the federal Department of Health and Human Services, will be issuing periodic reports and grading members on how they meet parameters. The ultimate goal is accreditation for members.
The reports will provide some transparency for the program because they will show which stakeholders aren’t participating.
The alliance is a means to provide a framework for broad reform but still recognize the individual rights of states to regulate racing and pari-mutuel wagering.
“The overwhelming commitment of support to the alliance reforms has been gratifying,” NTRA president and chief executive officer Alex Waldrop said in a statement released after the NTRA board meeting Oct. 23 in Pasadena, Calif. “The hiring of a full-time executive director, one who is passionate about our sport and industry, will be a critical step on the path to uniform implementation of those reforms.”
Support for the alliance has been positive, but industry officials acknowledge there could be obstacles when it comes to financing the actual reforms. The NTRA is funding the “office” for the alliance, but all stakeholders will be expected to contribute financially to implementation of reforms.
Visit the NTRA website for additional information.