NTRA Safety Alliance Accredits Indiana Grand

Track has initiated multiple purse increases and millions in renovations.

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, Ind., has earned accreditation from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance, it was announced June 25. The 12-year-old racetrack was known as Indiana Downs prior to its current season, which opened May 6 and continues through Nov. 1.

The track is owned and operated by Centaur Gaming, a new member of the NTRA that also owns nearby Hoosier Park, which has conducted Standardbred racing only since last year, and also operates off-track betting locations throughout Indiana.

Indiana Grand has initiated multiple purse increases and millions in renovations to its surfaces and facility that include installation of a new main track, four new barns housing more than 300 stalls (bringing total backstretch capacity to more than 1,000 horses) and a new, state-of-the-art LED video board in the infield. Tens of millions of dollars worth of additional improvements are in the planning stages, including new and renovated backstretch dormitories, as well as more substantial clubhouse and grandstand improvements.

"We are very proud to welcome Centaur Gaming as a member of the NTRA, especially in light of their exemplary initial review from our Safety and Integrity Alliance," said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA. "Indiana Grand's significant investment in their racing product and customer experience continues to win fans across the industry. Between the leadership of the tracks and the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, a recent adopter of the national uniform medication rules, racing's future appears bright in the Hoosier state."

Indiana Grand's last full Thoroughbred meet offered purses totaling $26.93 million for average daily purses of $236,248.

Indiana Grand's accreditation, which is in effect two years, followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. During the alliance inspection of Indiana Grand, best practices were identified in most primary areas of focus for the alliance.

In the area of injury reporting and prevention, best practices identified included the reporting of injuries and fatalities, pre- and post-race veterinary inspections, and post-mortem veterinary examinations.

In areas intended to create a safer racing environment, best practices cited at Indiana Grand included regulation and enforcement for riding crops and safety vests; use of padded starting gates; mandatory presence of an equine ambulance during racing; substance abuse and addiction treatment; appropriate contributions to industry safety research; data collection and storage to enhance racing surface maintenance; required safety training for all track employees that come in contact with horses; continuing education for trainers and stewards; adoption of the Uniform National Trainers Test (implemented by Indiana Horse Racing Commission); plans and protocols for infectious disease management; fire safety planning and procedures; and appropriate oversight of the official veterinarian.

Regarding the health and safety of jockeys, best practices recognized included protocols for post parade or starting gate scratches; appropriate standards for licensing jockeys; minimum $1 million accident medical expense coverage for all jockeys; posting of jockey insurance coverage in the jockeys' quarters; and participation in the Jockeys' Guild's Jockey Injury Database for collection of data associated with rider injuries. 

In the area of equine drug testing and penalties, best practices identified included implementation of Association of Racing Commissioners International model rules, based on Racing Medication and Testing Consortium recommendations; alkalinizing agent regulation; exogenous anabolic steroids regulation; extracorpeal shock wave therapy regulation; out-of-competition blood doping and gene doping testing on- and off-track; RMTC accreditation of the track's official testing laboratory, HFL Sports Science in Lexington, Ky.; and communication protocols for new and proposed changes to medication and testing regulations and protocols.

Indiana Grand also was commended for best practices in protocols relating to security across several areas, including hiring, pre-employment drug testing, training, staffing, communications, surveillance, access to restricted areas, shipping procedures and record keeping, test barn protocol, and licensing. Regarding wagering security, best practices were recognized for wagering incident prevention.

"I am very pleased that Indiana Grand has become the newest track to be accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance," said Jon Schuster, Indiana Grand vice president and general manager of racing, in a statement. "We have worked diligently and invested a lot of resources to ensure our race course is the safest, our facilities are the best kept, and our procedures are the best practices within the industry.

"It is truly a pleasure to work for an organization that is investing so much in our industry, that is forward looking, and that has put in place a team, from top to bottom, that cares about the horses, all the human participants, and every important detail about racing both on a state and national level."