Two tracks that will host their meet's biggest races this weekend—Saratoga Race Course in New York and Del Mar in California—have been re-accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Safety and Integrity Alliance.
Saratoga and Del Mar each received their initial accreditation in 2009, the Alliance's first year, and have maintained compliance since. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
According to an alliance release, during the latest safety inspection of Saratoga best practices were identified in virtually every primary area of focus.
In the area of injury reporting and prevention, best practices identified included the reporting of injuries and fatalities and the use of an injury review committee consisting of racetrack management, horsemen, stewards, the official track veterinarian, and independent veterinarians.
In areas intended to create a safer racing environment, Saratoga's best practices included equine ambulance staffing, equipment, and protocols; racing surface maintenance protocols; catastrophic injury planning and procedures; and sufficient security and support personnel for paddock safety.
In the area of equine drug testing and penalties, best practices identified included exogenous anabolic steroids regulation and Shockwave therapy regulation and protocols.
Regarding the health and safety of jockeys, best practices recognized included rider medical care and ambulance support (especially the jockey advocate program) and jockey health information system participation.
The alliance said the inspection of Del Mar also revealed best practices implemented in all of the most essential areas.
In the area of injury reporting and prevention, best practices identified included the reporting of injuries and fatalities; pre-race and post-race veterinary examination protocols of the California Horse Racing Board regulatory and track veterinarians; veterinarians' list protocols of the CHRB; and the California post mortem program.
In areas intended to create a safer racing environment, best practices cited at Del Mar included riding crop regulation and enforcement; equine ambulance staffing, placement, and equipment; substance abuse and addiction regulation and support; safety training and continuing education; catastrophic injury planning and procedures; sufficient security and support personnel for paddock safety; and veterinary care coverage by practicing vets.
In the area of equine drug testing and penalties, best practices identified included alkalinizing agent regulation and TCO2 testing procedures; exogenous anabolic steroids regulation; Shockwave therapy regulation and protocols; the CHRB out-of-competition testing program; frozen sample testing; medication and testing education; and accreditation of the University of California, Davis Testing Lab.
Del Mar also was recognized for best practices in areas focused on declaration of horse (scratch) protocols; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; and medical care for injured riders.