The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness Stakes, has earned reaccreditation from the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance. Located in Baltimore, Pimlico kicks off its Spring/Summer Meet on Thursday.
The 28-day Pimlico spring meeting, which will be conducted through June 28, is highlighted by one of America’s premier racing days on Saturday, May 21 with the 141st running of the $1.5 million Preakness for 3-year-olds, the middle jewel of Thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown, and the centerpiece of a card featuring eight stakes races.
The reaccreditation of Pimlico was the culmination of a lengthy process that began with the track’s completion of an extensive written application and continued as the track hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. An on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing operations. Interviews were conducted with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, veterinarians, stewards and regulators.
The inspection team was comprised of Dr. Jennifer Durenberger, 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 NTRA Safety & Integrity 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 of retired racehorses and wagering security.
“We are proud to once again earn the highest of marks in safety and integrity in the alliance’s accreditation,” said Maryland Jockey Club President and General Manager Sal Sinatra. “The safety of our athletes, both human and equine, has always been a priority with the Maryland Jockey Club and The Stronach Group. We will always strive to find the safest products and environment for our athletes to compete and prosper.”
The NTRA’s Koch, who coordinated the inspections, praised the Stronach Group and MJC’s focus on safety and gave special recognition to Sinatra and his staff.
“The Stronach Group has invested much in Maryland racing, especially including the integrity and safety mission” said Koch. “There are many great things happening there and we are proud to have them as a Safety and Integrity Alliance partners.”
Pimlico is one of 23 racing facilities fully accredited by the Alliance that together host 94 percent of Grade 1 stakes and attract more than 70 percent of North American pari-mutuel handle. 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, 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