The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced March 29 that Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale, Ontario, Canada has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility.
The accreditation of Woodbine was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Woodbine hosted several meetings with alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the Woodbine facility and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, and fans.
“Woodbine was reviewed during the final days of its 2009 live Thoroughbred meeting,” said Mike Ziegler, executive director of the NTRA safety and integrity alliance. “It exceeded prescribed benchmarks in a majority of examined categories and received ‘best practice’ ratings in several areas including pre- and post-race veterinary examinations; safety equipment, including use of cushioned crops, safety helmets, safety vests, and starting gate padding; safety training and continuing education; catastrophic injury procedures; out-of-competition testing protocols; and security training.”
“We at Woodbine are very proud of this certification,” said Steve Koch, vice president of Thoroughbred racing at Woodbine. “Safety for horse and rider and the integrity of our product has always been top priority at Woodbine. The NTRA’s Safety and Integrity Alliance Accreditation validates this commitment. We were impressed with the thorough and professional process of this review. Woodbine salutes our partners, the jockeys, horse people, Ontario Racing Commission, and of course, the customers of racing, in helping achieve this distinction.”
Woodbine is the 16th racing facility to be so designated by the alliance. The others are Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Belmont Park, Delaware Park, Hollywood Park, Monmouth Park, Arlington Park, Saratoga Race Course, Calder Race Course, Turfway Park, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Oak Tree at Santa Anita and Santa Anita Park, Fair Grounds, Aqueduct, and Golden Gate Fields. Pimlico Race Course was granted provisional accreditation last May.
The Alliance, formed in October 2008 with the goal of establishing national uniform standards in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America and every major national horsemen’s organization. Alliance certification standards cover six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; safety research; and wagering security. Within those six categories, specific standards focus on areas including:
• Systematic reporting of equine injuries
• Aftercare of racehorses
• Pre- and post-race veterinary examinations
• Post-mortem examinations
• Health and safety of jockeys
• Riding crops and their use
• Horse shoes and hoof care
• Safety research
• Safety equipment for jockeys and horse handlers
• Exogenous Anabolic Steroids
• Alkalinizing agents (TCO2)
• On-track emergency medical care for humans and equines
• Out-of-competition testing
• Freezing and retrospective testing of post race samples
• Continuing education
• Security assessment and training
• Totalizator technology and “stop wagering” protocols
• Wagering incident investigation