The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale, Ontario, Canada has earned re-accreditation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. The re-accreditation followed a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Woodbine received its initial Alliance accreditation in March 2010. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years.
Woodbine is the 14th Alliance-accredited racetrack to earn re-accreditation, joining Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Keeneland Race Course, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course and Turfway Park.
The re-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 racing facility, with special attention paid to areas that were newly added to the Alliance’s Code of Standards in 2011 and 2012. Such areas containing new or more stringent requirements include wagering security, race day security, Model Rules pertaining to Furosemide administration and Phenylbutazone threshold levels, injury reporting, post-mortem veterinary inspections, jockey health and safety, paddock safety, aftercare/transitioning of retired racehorses and cross-jurisdictional sharing of vet’s list data. Interviews were also conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ronald Jensen, DVM; Mike Kilpack of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators (ORI); racing official Richard Lewis; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.
During the latest Alliance inspection of Woodbine, best practices were identified in areas including pre-race veterinary examinations; post-race veterinary examinations; shoeing and hoof care; safety helmet and safety vest use; padded starting gate; catastrophic injury protocols and procedures; infectious disease management; fire safety planning and procedures; paddock safety protocols; veterinary care; uniform medication rules and testing; testing for exogenous anabolic steroids; out-of-competition testing; security plan and training; random inspections of test barn; apprentice jockey qualification; physical exams for jockeys; and wagering security protocols, including stop wagering device protocols, simulcast sales contract language, tote system standards and testing, cancel delays, exclusion of pools when non-verifiable, the track’s policy for refunding tickets when Woodbine is excluded as a guest pool, timing displays and wagering pool due diligence.
“Woodbine’s favorable report comes as no surprise given the high level of commitment to safety and integrity the track demonstrated when first accredited two years ago,” said Ziegler. “I congratulate the entire staff at Woodbine for their fine efforts.”
“All of us at Woodbine are exceedingly proud to have earned this re-accreditation,” said Steve Koch, Woodbine’s Vice-President of Thoroughbred Racing. “Safety for horse and rider and the integrity of our product has always been top priority at Woodbine. We were impressed with the thorough and professional process of the review, and we again salute our partners-the jockeys, horsepeople, Ontario Racing Commission, and of course, our customers-in helping achieve this distinction.”
Woodbine is one of 21 racing facilities currently fully accredited by the Alliance. Others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Betfair Hollywood Park, Calder Casino and Race Course, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack, Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields, Keeneland Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park and Turfway Park. Accreditation of Kentucky Downs is currently pending.
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
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. Corporate partners of the Alliance include Pfizer Animal Health, FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at http://www.ntraalliance.com/