Churchill Downs

Churchill Downs

Anne M. Eberhardt

CDI: Safety Initiatives in Place For Derby

The Safety from the Start program was launched last year

Churchill Downs Inc. announced April 22 its safety initiatives are in place for the 2010 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby (gr. I), following last year’s creation of its Safety from Start to Finish, an ongoing initiative to improve the safety of both horses and people at CDI’s four racetracks.

The key Safety from Start to Finish initiatives that are in place for the 2010 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, as well as for the 4,000 races that will be conducted at CDI tracks throughout this year, are as follows:
•Independent, standardized third-party testing and monitoring of track surfaces
•“Supertesting” of all winning horses for more than 100 performance-enhancing drugs for every race
•Age restrictions requiring Thoroughbreds to be at least 24 calendar months of age before becoming eligible to race
•The banning of steroids
•The prohibition of “milkshaking”, which results in excessive levels of total carbon dioxide in Thoroughbred racehorses;
• Prohibiting the transport of horses from CDI facilities for slaughter
•Permanent revocation of stall privileges for any owner or trainer who sells a horse for slaughter that was previously stabled at a CDI track
•The banning of unsafe horseshoes, including front shoe toe grabs longer than two millimeters
•The use of low-impact riding whips with limited usage rules
•The presence of on-site medical personnel, equipment, and state-of-the-art equine ambulances
•Immediate online access to jockey medical histories for emergency medical personnel
•$1 million in catastrophic injury insurance coverage for jockeys
•Mandatory and uniform reporting of equine injuries to the Equine Injury Database System, thereby assisting in the compilation of statistics and trends to improve safety conditions around the country
•Professionally designed and installed safety rails on the inside of the dirt courses
•Mandatory usage by all jockeys, exercise riders and other on-track personnel of safety vests and safety helmets that meet internationally acknowledged quality standards
•3/8-inch foam padding on all parts of the starting gates
•Inspection of all horses by regulatory veterinarians prior to and following all races
•Review of security procedures around the barns and other racetrack backstretch areas
•Continued maintenance of protocols for the treatment of horses that have been injured during racing or training, to ensure the most humane treatment possible
For more information about the Churchill Downs Safety from Start to Finish initiative, visit the Safety Center at Gate 17, at Churchill Downs racetrack, or log on to