Since the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance was formed in late 2008, one of the Alliance's projects has been a certification program aimed at racetracks. Theoretically, a racetrack must reach a certain standard of safety and integrity practices in order to get certified, thus letting the wagering public and horsemen know that the certified tracks are held to the highest standard and are safe places for horses to race and a safe places to place a wager and expect a fair result.
This week, Pimlico, which had previously been granted provisional certification, was granted full certification. Also, Sunland Park in New Mexico was granted provisional certification.
Provisional racetrack accreditation is granted when a facility substantially meets the majority of provisions contained in the Alliance code of standards, and when the Alliance has reason to believe the track will be in compliance with the remaining standards within a reasonable period of time. Once all standards have been satisfied, a racetrack may be awarded full Alliance accreditation.
To see the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance's 2010 Code of Standards, click here.
To date, the racetracks that have become fully certified by the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance are: Aqueduct, Arlington Park, Belmont Park, Calder Race Course, Churchill Downs, Delaware Park, Del Mar, Fair Grounds Race Course, Golden Gate Fields, Hollywood Park, Keeneland Racecourse, Monmouth Park, Oak Tree at Santa Anita, Pimlico Race Course, Saratoga Race Course, Turfway Park, and Woodbine Racecourse. That is a total of 17 fully certified tracks so far.
So what do you think? Are the standards rigorous enough? Should provisional certifications be granted, or should certification only be granted when a racetrack already meets all of the standards?
Finally, do you think the certification actually means anything to horseplayers when choosing the racetracks upon which they will gamble? If not, how does certification need to be better publicized in order to make it more meaningful to gamblers?