Golden Gate Fields in Northern California is the 15th racetrack to be fully accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance.
Golden Gate, which was reviewed Jan. 20-21, is the second Magna Entertainment Corp.-owned track to be fully accredited. The other is Santa Anita Park. MEC-owned Pimlico Race Course in Maryland received provisional accreditation in 2009 but will be reviewed again this year.
Alliance executive director Mike Ziegler said Feb. 18 Golden Gate “exceeded prescribed benchmarks on the vast majority of fronts and received high marks for industry-wide best practices” in many areas, including the California Horse Racing Board post-mortem veterinary examination program; veterinarian’s list maintenance and sharing among jurisdictions; house rules requiring safety helmets; participation in safety research studies; safety training, particularly concerning the starting gate, and continuing education; and the CHRB’s alkalinizing substance testing program, exogenous steroid policy, out-of-competition testing program, and frozen sample testing program.
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 fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ziegler, Dr. Celeste Kunz, and racing industry executive Dan Fick.
“The safety of all our human and equine athletes has always been a centerpiece of all operations at Golden Gate Fields,” Golden Gate general manager Robert Hartman said in a statement. “I am very proud that Golden Gate has been found to meet, and in many cases exceed, the rigid standards established by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.”
The accreditation program initially is focusing on human and equine safety but will be expanded this year to additional areas, including wagering security.