Churchill Downs was the first to receive full accreditation in April. Since then, Keeneland (Ky.), Belmont Park (N.Y.), Delaware Park (Del.), Hollywood Park (Calif.), Monmouth Park (N.J.), Arlington Park (Ill.), Saratoga Race Course (N.Y.), Calder Race Course (Fla.) and Turfway Park (Ky.), were fully accredited, while Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore received provisional accreditation.
Accreditation follows a process that begins with a 48-page written application, meetings with alliance officials, then an on-site inspection and interviews with track executives, staff, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards, regulators and fans. Inspection team members included Celeste Kunz, DVM; Alex Waldrop, CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association; and racing-industry executive Dan Fick. Mike Ziegler, the alliance's executive director, observed the inspection.
Certification standards cover five key 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 NTRA helped create the alliance last fall to establish national uniform standards in racing safety and integrity. Alliance members include 55 racetracks and all major national horsemen's organizations.