Santa Anita Was Reaccredited by Safety & Integrity Alliance this past May

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity AllianceEditor’s Note: It’s a good thing that Santa Anita received the seal of approval from the racing industry last May (sic) by being re-accredited by the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance.

Since a sickening report on the NBC Nightly News after the 19th breakdown and death of a racehorse at beautiful Santa Anita racecourse, two more horses have died in less than one week.  That brings the total to 21 deaths since the track re-opened this past winter.  This is not only heartbreaking to every racing fan but totally unacceptable.

Just in the past elections in Florida, the popular vote chose to shut down greyhound racing, a staple in the Sunshine State for many decades.  Within minutes of this news, there were comments all over social media that “horse racing needs to be next.”

In the liberal state of California, it won’t be long before a huge push is made to do just that to horse racing in the Golden State.  All the stake holders involved need to stop looking at the short term picture and shut this track down until we can figure out what in the world is going on.  Can we really blame recent rainy weather?  Is there a trend with certain types of horses involved?  Certain barns?  Layoffs?  It’s complicated, but we need to look beyond just the surface (no pun intended).

The Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships is scheduled for “The Great Race Place” this fall, and we can’t just hope that this problem goes away.

May 2018 Press Release:

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance

“The reaccreditation of Santa Anita 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. Ron Jensen, DVM (veterinary and regulatory consultant), former equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board; 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 Cathy O’Meara (racing operations consultant), coordinator of the Racing Officials Accreditation Program.

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; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication and testing; jockey health and welfare; and wagering security.

“Santa Anita is always proud to stand at the forefront of racetrack safety and integrity,” said Rick Hammerle, the track’s vice president of racing and racing secretary. “Every decision here is made with the safety of our human and equine athletes in mind.”

Santa Anita has been continuously accredited since 2009, the Alliance’s inaugural year. All accreditations and re-accreditations carry an effective period of two years…”

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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