The National Thoroughbred Racing Association announced Sept. 25 that Calder Race Course has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility.
Calder is the ninth racing facility to be so designated by the Alliance, and the first within the state of Florida.
The accreditation of Calder was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Calder hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, regulators and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ronald Jensen, DVM; racing official Richard Lewis; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
“Calder was reviewed during its current meeting and met or exceeded prescribed benchmarks on all fronts, with an industry-wide best practice established in the area of injury reporting,” said Ziegler. “Calder is continuously collaborating with the State of Florida’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to improve the safety and integrity of the sport in Florida.
“Its commitment to the post-racing care of Thoroughbreds was also enhanced this year with its new relationship with Pure Thoughts Inc. Horse & Foal Rescue and Thoroughbred Rehabilitation & Placement. Along with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (FHBPA), Calder made significant financial donations to this Loxahatchee, Fla. farm whose mission, in part, is to save horses from slaughter, neglect and abuse; and to foster adoption placements. Through education and awareness campaigns at Calder, several Thoroughbreds have already been rehabilitated and placed through Pure Thoughts this year. Calder has also been a longtime supporter of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.”
Calder’s vice president and general manager of racing, John Marshall said: “Calder is redefining the commitment to safety and integrity of racing in the state of Florida. Safety and integrity are ‘non-negotiables’ in all aspects of operations at Calder. Together with the FHBPA, Calder is proud to be the first racetrack in Florida to be accredited by the NTRA.”
The Alliance, formed last October 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 five broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; and safety research.
The accreditation program initially will focus on human and equine safety, but will be expanded to cover additional areas, including wagering security.
The NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance is a standing organization whose purpose is to establish standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horseracing and to secure their implementation. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at www.NTRAalliance.com.