The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Churchill Downs, home of the world's most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby, has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.
The legendary Louisville, Ky., racetrack hosts the 144th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on Saturday. Other highlights of the Spring Meet include the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Friday and the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) for top older horses on June 16.
The reaccreditation of Churchill Downs was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track's completion of an extensive written application and continued as the track hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing operations. Interviews were conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, veterinarians, stewards and regulators.
The inspection team was comprised of Jim Cain (security consultant), former Chief of Enforcement for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission with 40 years of law enforcement experience; Dr. Jennifer Durenberger (veterinary and regulatory consultant), Chief Examining Veterinarian at the New York Racing Association; Steve Koch, executive director of the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance; and Cathy O'Meara (racing operations consultant), coordinator of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program.
Alliance certification standards address an extensive list of safety and integrity concerns within six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication and testing; jockey health and welfare; and wagering security.
“Churchill Downs is committed to protecting the health and safety of our human and equine athletes and ensuring the integrity of our racing,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs racetrack. “Participating in the Safety and Integrity Alliance accreditation program and receiving this re-accreditation helps demonstrate our commitment. We'd also like to thank the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for their assistance in receiving this accreditation and their ongoing commitment to safety and integrity.”
The flagship property of Churchill Downs Incorporated was the first racetrack to receive accreditation in 2009, the Alliance's inaugural year. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
Churchill Downs is one of 23 racing facilities fully accredited by the Alliance that together host 96 percent of Grade 1 stakes and attract more than 75 percent of North American pari-mutuel handle. The other accredited racetracks are Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Canterbury Park, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Indiana Grand, Kentucky Downs, Keeneland, Laurel Park, Los Alamitos Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park, Turfway Park, and Woodbine.
The NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance is a standing organization establishing standards and practices to promote safety and integrity in horseracing and to secure their implementation. Corporate partners of the Alliance include Insurance Office of America and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at NTRAalliance.com.
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