(Edited Fairplex Park press release)
Fairplex Park has upgraded its safety and emergency care efforts for the 2009 meet, which begins Sept. 10 and runs through Sept. 28 at the Southern California track.
Fairplex has employed paramedics to work both in the morning and during racing. It will also have its lighting poles inside the inner rail padded for safety and now has a house rule requiring equine friendly riding crops only to be used during the meet. Fairplex has purchased 20 of the new riding crops for the jockeys’ use during the upcoming meet.
The new riding crops conform to the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Model Rules while the padded poles exceed the standards of the same group, which require padding inside 10 feet of the rail.
“The light poles are far enough from the inner rail that we do not have to pad them according to the ARCI Model Rules, but we elected to pad them for enhanced safety,” said Kim Lloyd, Fairplex Park’s equine manager. “We have paramedics on duty now during training hours, and they will also be in place during the races run at the meet. Our mission is to provide top-class racing in an environment that is as safe as possible for both people and horses.”
“We appreciate Kim Lloyd and Fairplex management working with the jockeys and the Jockeys’ Guild to improve safety and emergency care,” said Darrell Haire, a regional manager for the Guild. “Fairplex has gone beyond the minimum of the Model Rules and, importantly, is upgrading the medical care at the most important time, immediately after an injury has occurred. In addition to these modifications, Fairplex has upgraded the jockeys’ rooms during the past few years to the point that they are both cleaner and more accommodating than ever before for both male and female jockeys.”
“The changes Fairplex is making are important to all involved,” said Terry Meyocks, national manager of the Jockeys’ Guild. “This doesn’t just benefit the jockeys. The paramedics will also benefit exercise riders as well anyone else who might get injured on the track in the morning. Fairplex deserves a lot of credit for stepping up and implementing these initiatives. Safety has become a major issue for both humans and horses as evidenced by the work of the NTRA (National Thoroughbred Racing Association) Safety (and Integrity) Alliance. Fairplex and Del Mar have been in the forefront of tracks responding to this need for improved safety.”