Independent monitor to examine, report on Thoroughbred safety alliance

Independent monitor to examine, report on Thoroughbred safety alliance

Oct 05, 2009
By staff
Washington -- The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's (NTRA) Safety and Integrity Alliance has accredited 12 racetracks and established several uniform safety and integrity measures during its first year of operation, and now an independent monitor will examine its work and issue a report on its effectiveness.

The Hon. Tommy G. Thompson, former four-term Wisconsin governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, was appointed as the alliance's independent monitor at its inception last October.

He and the Washington law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld informed the NTRA by letter that they will issue a public report assessing the progress of the alliance by the end of this year.

"It is my responsibility to examine the work of the alliance and assess industry progress in achieving the reforms called for. That report will be made available to the public, and I will make myself available to the media and to fans to answer any questions," Thompson told the NTRA.

In the next several weeks, Thompson will preside over a data-gathering process that includes submitting a formal questionnaire to the 12 racetracks accredited so far; holding one-on-one interviews with industry stakeholder groups; soliciting public comment online; and reviewing all alliance inspection teams, along with their reports and actions.

"My partners and I fully understand that many are relying on us to assure them of the genuineness and effectiveness of industry efforts to implement safety and integrity reforms," Thompson says.

The alliance's accreditation program is focused for now on human and equine safety at racetracks, but will be expanded to cover additional areas, including wagering security.