(Oct. 28,2011) - The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced today that Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility.

The accreditation of Santa Anita was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Santa Anita hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Celeste Kunz, DVM; racetrack executive Jim Gates; Mike Kilpack of the Organization of Racetrack Investigators (ORI); and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance.

“Santa Anita was reviewed on October 20th and 21st during its current live meeting,” said Ziegler. “It received ‘Best Practice’ ratings in numerous areas including injury reporting and prevention; post-race veterinary examinations; post-mortem veterinary examinations; use of cushioned riding crop; equine ambulance protocols; safety research; catastrophic injury planning and procedures; testing for alkalinizing substances and anabolic steroids; out-of-competition testing; frozen sample testing; laboratory quality assurance program; and wagering security protocols and procedures.”

"We are proud of this accreditation and of the many high marks our facility received during the Alliance inspection process," said George Haines, President of Santa Anita Park. "The safety of our athletes and the integrity of our product are essential components of everything we do here at Santa Anita. I salute the many employees here who worked so hard to achieve this important designation.”

Santa Anita is now the 22nd racing facility to receive full accreditation, joining Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Belmont Park, Delaware Park, Hollywood Park, Monmouth Park, Arlington Park, Saratoga Race Course, Calder Race Course, Turfway Park, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Oak Tree at Santa Anita, Fair Grounds, Aqueduct Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Woodbine, Pimlico, Canterbury Park, Sunland Park, Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack and, most recently, Suffolk Downs.

The Alliance, formed in October 2008 with the goal of establishing national uniform standards in the areas of safety and integrity, includes 55 racetracks in North America and every major national horsemen’s organization. Alliance certification standards cover six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; safety research; and wagering security. Within those six categories, specific standards focus on areas including:

• Systematic reporting of equine injuries

• Aftercare of racehorses

• Pre- and post-race veterinary examinations

• Post-mortem examinations

• Health and safety of jockeys

• Riding crops and their use

• Horse shoes and hoof care

• Safety research

• Safety equipment for jockeys and horse handlers

• Exogenous Anabolic Steroids

• Alkalinizing agents (TCO2)

• On-track emergency medical care for humans and equines

• Out-of-competition testing

• Freezing and retrospective testing of post race samples

• Continuing education

• Security assessment and training

• Totalizator technology and “stop wagering” protocols

• Wagering incident investigation

The NTRA Safety and 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. Information on the Alliance, including the Alliance Code of Standards, can be found at

Contact: Eric Wing (212) 521-5316