Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, independent monitor for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance, on Feb. 2 released a public report on the alliance's 2010 activities and called for more participation by racetracks.
The 12-page “Report of the Independent Monitor” covers the alliance’s progress to date in implementing safety and integrity standards and reforms.
The report cited the successful implementation of several meaningful safety improvements at accredited racetracks throughout North America and also praised the alliance for sparking legislative changes in states whose rules were substandard relative to those in other racing states. The report expressed disappointment, however, that only five new racetracks availed themselves of the accreditation process in 2010.
Suggested areas for improvement include creation of incentives to compel more tracks to seek accreditation, and the need to better educate the general public about specific improvements made at racetracks.
“While the lack of accreditation through the end of the calendar year appears to be problematic, it must be recognized that the alliance is still in its infancy–just two years old,” the report states. “The number of accreditations may seem small in quantity, but it should be recognized that the tracks accredited thus far represent most of racing’s premier venues.
"In addition, nearly 70% of annual nationwide wagering handle is represented by the tracks already accredited. However, for the alliance to succeed, broader support must be garnered.”
“I commend Gov. Thompson and his team at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld for what is, once again, a frank and thorough report,” NTRA president and chief executive officer Alex Waldrop said in a statement. “The analysis recognizes economic challenges; spotlights many areas of achievement; and points out several other areas where improvement is necessary in order to ensure the future success of the alliance.”
Thompson, who also formerly served four terms as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, has served as the alliance’s independent monitor since its inception in October 2008.
More information on the alliance, including its code of standards, can be found at www.NTRAalliance.com.