The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Sept. 1 that Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. The re-accreditation followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Del Mar received its initial Alliance accreditation in September 2009. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
Del Mar is the seventh Alliance-accredited racetrack to earn re-accreditation. Keeneland received re-accreditation from the Alliance in April of this year; Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course each earned re-accreditation in June; Arlington Park, Hollywood Park and Belmont Park each earned re-accreditation in July.
The re-accreditation of Del Mar was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Del Mar hosted several meetings with Alliance officials.
The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, with special attention paid to areas that were newly added to the Alliance’s Code of Standards in 2010 and 2011. Such areas containing new or more stringent requirements include wagering security, injury reporting, post-mortem veterinary inspections, jockey health and safety, paddock safety, aftercare/transitioning of retired racehorses, and cross-jurisdictional sharing of vet’s list data.
Interviews were also conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, and fans. The inspection team was comprised of veterinarian Celeste Kunz; Mike Kilpack of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; racetrack executive Jim Gates; and Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
During the latest Alliance inspection of Del Mar, best practices were identified in areas including injury reporting and prevention; post-race veterinary examinations; post-mortem veterinary examinations; shoeing and hoof care; use of cushioned riding crop; equine ambulance protocols; safety research; catastrophic injury planning and procedures; fire safety planning and procedures; testing for alkalinizing substances and anabolic steroids; out-of-competition testing; frozen sample testing; medication testing education; laboratory quality assurance program; racetrack security plan and training; human ambulance protocols; and wagering security protocols and procedures.
“It was clear from our most recent inspection of Del Mar that it is a facility where safety and integrity are top priorities,” said Ziegler in a release. “Del Mar’s staff—and also its fans—should be proud of the track’s commitment to safety, which has resulted in the lengthy list of industry-wide best practices contained in our inspection report.”
“We devote a lot of resources here to the safety of our athletes and the integrity of our product, time and money we know is well spent,” added Joe Harper, CEO, president and general manager of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, in a statement. “We are proud to receive this re-accrediation from the NTRA Alliance and are gratified by the many high marks we earned in its report.”
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is one of 19 racing facilities to receive full accreditation. Others are Belmont Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Arlington Park, Hollywood Park, Monmouth Park, Saratoga Race Course, Turfway Park, Oak Tree at Santa Anita/Santa Anita Park, Fair Grounds, Aqueduct Racetrack, Pimlico Race Course, Golden Gate Fields, Woodbine, Canterbury Park, Sunland Park and, Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack.