Hollywood Park Receives SAIA Accreditation

Racing News
Posted 06.26.09 at 6:59

Left to right, Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance; Hollywood Park President, Jack Liebau; Hollywood Park V.P. and General Manager, Eual Wyatt, Jr.


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced that Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility. Hollywood Park is the fifth racing facility to be so designated by the Alliance. Churchill Downs and Keeneland were accredited in April; Belmont Park received accreditation in May; and Delaware Park was accredited earlier this month. Pimlico Race Course was granted provisional accreditation in May.

The accreditation of Hollywood Park was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Hollywood Park 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, led by Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the NTRA, included Celeste Kunz, DVM; and Dan Fick, Executive Vice President and Executive Director of The Jockey Club. Observing the review was Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. Noteworthy findings at Hollywood included best practices in areas including equine ambulance services and equipment; participation in a groundbreaking training injury study coordinated by Drs. Jeff Blea and Wayne McIlwraith; and participation in track surface studies coordinated by Dr. Mick Peterson.

“Having participated in the review process for the first time as an inspector, I was highly impressed by the tremendous onsite effort required by a racetrack in order to conform to the Alliance code of standards,” said Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the NTRA. “The state of California also deserves high praise for its aggressive medication and testing policies and mandatory necropsy program.”

“Hollywood Park was reviewed on May 20-21 during its current meeting,” said Ziegler. “The inspection went very smoothly, with Hollywood exceeding recommended Alliance benchmarks in several areas.”

“The safety of our athletes – both equine and human — is of the utmost importance to everyone at Hollywood Park,” said Jack Liebau, President of Hollywood Park. “We take great pride in providing the safest conditions possible, which has been illustrated by the inspection process. Hollywood Park not only meets the standards of the Alliance, it exceeds them in many categories.”

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. Within those five 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

The accreditation program initially will focus on human and equine safety, but will be expanded to cover additional areas, including wagering security.

Arlington Park, Calder Race Course, Emerald Downs and Monmouth Park are among the next racetracks that will undergo Alliance review.

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.

The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson, former four-term Governor of Wisconsin and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, serves as independent counsel of the Alliance and will provide public reports on Alliance progress in instituting safety and integrity standards.


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