Churchill Downs Inc. reinforced its safety initiatives April 11 and said it plans to seek re-accreditation for its four racetracks through the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance.
CDI two years ago launched what it calls the “Safety from Start to Finish” program at its four tracks: Arlington Park, Calder Casino & Race Course, Churchill Downs, and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The program is designed to offer a “comprehensive approach to improving the safety of horses and human beings,” the company said.
Churchill was the first track to be accredited through the alliance in April 2009. Officials said re-accreditation will be sought this year for the next two-year period.
As part of its in-house program, CDI has worked with Dr. Mick Peterson, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine who has evaluated its racing surfaces. The company also has raised about $270,000 for racehorse aftercare through various programs.
“Horses will make more than 30,000 starts in races at CDI’s four tracks this year, and nothing is more important to our company than the safety of those horses, their jockeys, and the employees who work collaboratively to deliver each live racing program at our venues,” CDI president and chief operating officer William Carstanjen said in a statement. “With Kentucky Derby week and the start of our 2011 spring race meets just around the corner, it’s important to remind everyone who visits our facilities, including the thousands of horsemen and women and employees who spend their working days with us, that safety in all aspects of our business operations is of utmost importance.”
For 2011 Calder opens its meet April 25, Churchill April 30, Arlington May 6, and Fair Grounds later in the fall.