NEW RACETRACK STANDARDS
NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance Codes
ThoroFan has a seat on the NTRA Alliance’s Advisory Board. As such, fans are invited to give input into the standards used (see 2010 Codes) and being proposed to accredit racetracks. The accreditation process, albeit in its infancy, has significant potential for the fans of our sport. Currently absent of a national commissioner for racing or an Interstate Compact, Thoroughbred racing is an individual state regulated sport. Even with state-based regulations standards at tracks are pretty much left up to the good intention of the track operators. Some tracks, like Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, have been critical of the accreditation process suggesting that they “Know better.” They might. However, should the fan who attends and wagers on their races take them at their word? Maybe. A better alternative is to have an ever evolving set of standards that racetrack apply to their operations. Even better, is to have an independent body annually review practices to determine compliance. Currently approximately 20 tracks across the country have sought voluntary accreditation. A full list a credited tracks can be found on pages 4-5 of the independent monitor’s report. Each year the Alliance team and Advisory Board are asked to review proposed rules and code changes that have come as a result of the previous year’s accreditation experience. On Wednesday (March 2, 2011) the Alliance’s Advisory Board met to review and recommend to the full NTRA Board the codes for 2011. Please go to Revised Codes to review the proposed changes. There is a link on that site for you to submit your comments directly to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance. If you wish is the e-mail address (email@example.com) to which you can comment.
As fans our input into the process is critical for a couple of reasons. First, for too long the opinion of the fan was not valued in racing, save as a marketing tool. With this process fans have a chance to affect significant changes in Thoroughbred racing. Second and more selfishly fans must be diligent about assuring that the game is run correctly for the human and the equine athlete, alike. Issues like medication use, jockey safety, wagering integrity and equipment use affect us all whether we are casual fans or serious players. When the accreditation process is fully developed fans will know that tracks they frequent or play comply with uniform standards. Operational expediency at the fans or even the horses expense will be no longer. That is the fan’s legacy to our sport.