The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Arlington International Racecourse in Arlington Heights, Ill., near Chicago, has earned full accreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.
Arlington hosts its annual International Festival of Racing on Saturday featuring six stakes, five of them graded, including three Grade I turf events. The afternoon is highlighted by the 34th running of the Arlington Million (G1), which annually attracts some of the top turf horses in the world.
Arlington’s accreditation brings the number of Grade I stakes conducted at tracks accredited by the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance to 105 out of a possible 109, or 96 percent. The 24 tracks fully accredited by the Alliance account for 74 percent of North American pari-mutuel handle.
The Alliance inspection team at Arlington International was comprised of Jennifer Durenberger, DVM, veterinary and regulatory consultant with past experience as a state veterinarian, track veterinarian, steward and regulator; Mike Kilpack, security and integrity consultant, past chairman of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators; Steve Koch, executive director of the Alliance; and Richard Lewis, racetrack operations consultant, a California Horse Racing Board steward and former longtime California racing executive.
Alliance certification standards address an extensive list of safety and integrity concerns within six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; uniform medication and testing; jockey health and welfare; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; and wagering security.
“The safety and health of all of our athletes is our top priority at Arlington,” said Arlington International Racecourse General Manager Tony Petrillo. “We are proud to again be accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety & Integrity Alliance, ensuring that our operation is meeting the best industry practices for the well-being of all our participants.”
The Million and its filly and mare counterpart, the Beverly D. (G1), are “Win & You’re In” races carrying automatic Breeders’ Cup berths as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series. All 49 “Win & You’re In” races held in North America are run at racetracks accredited by the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.
“We are impressed with Arlington’s commitment to the Safety & Integrity Code of Standards,” said Koch, who coordinates inspections as head of the Alliance. “It is fitting to announce this accreditation ahead of their Breeders’ Cup Challenge ‘Win and You’re In’ weekend as a joint indication of Arlington’s first-class operations.”
Arlington International is one of 24 racing facilities fully accredited by the Alliance. The others are Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, Canterbury Park, Churchill Downs, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Gulfstream Park, Gulfstream Park West, Indiana Grand, Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Laurel Park, Los Alamitos Race Course, Monmouth Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, Saratoga Race Course, Suffolk Downs, Sunland Park, Turfway Park and Woodbine.
The NTRA Safety & 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 Lockton Insurance and Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at NTRAalliance.com.