New NTRA Safety, Integrity Alliance Code Available

An updated set of racetrack safety and integrity standards has been circulated to members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety and Integrity Alliance, and the standards are now available for public comment.

After finalization, the compliance standards will serve as the basis for future racetrack alliance accreditation. 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. Twenty-two racetracks are fully accredited.

The alliance's 2014 code of standards for 2014 can be reviewed at, and comments on the revised code can be submitted via email to

For 2014, the code of standards has been expanded to encourage adoption of a model rule stating that every licensee shall do "all that is reasonable and within his/her power and scope of duty" to prevent all prohibited substances from being used on a horse entered to race or recording an official workout. The rule also forbids any form of "cruelty, mistreatment, neglect, or abuse" of any animal and requires the establishment of a process (such as a toll-free hotline) for reporting such instances.

Also expanded in the 2014 code are racing surface maintenance standards that call for electronic data collection protocols to monitor weather, watering, maintenance, material addition, and surveying, as well as turf-specific data on re-sodding and cut lengths. Quality control measurements should also be conducted on moisture, cushion depth, and material composition.

Another addition to the code is a stipulation that members whose drug testing lab has not begun the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium's lab accreditation process by Jan. 1, 2015, will have their Safety and Integrity Accreditation revoked or denied.

Compliance standards cover six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; medication and testing; jockey safety and health; and wagering security. Within those six categories, specific standards will focus on many areas including:

  • Systematic reporting of equine injuries;
  • Aftercare of retired racehorses;
  • Pre- and post-race veterinary examinations;
  • Post-mortem exams;
  • Health and safety of jockeys;
  • Riding crops and their use;
  • Horse shoes and hoof care;
  • Safety research, including racing surfaces;
  • Safety equipment for jockeys and horse handlers;
  • Safety training;
  • Anabolic steroids;
  • Alkalinizing agents (TCO2);
  • On-track emergency medical care for humans and equines;
  • Out-of-competition drug testing;
  • Freezing and retrospective testing of post-race samples;
  • Continuing education;
  • Totalizator technology and "stop wagering" protocols; and
  • Wagering incident investigation.

Originally published on

About the Author

The Blood-Horse Staff

The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from Learn More