Churchill Downs has become the first thoroughbred track in the country to receive accreditation from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance.
The alliance was created following the catastrophic breakdown of the filly Eight Belles at last year’s Kentucky Derby.
The accreditation comes after track officials completed a 60-page application and an inspection team visited Churchill Downs this week.
NTRA President Alex Waldrop says there’s no regulation that requires horse tracks to seek the accreditation and there are no official sanctions against facilities that fail inspection. But he says there will still be consequences.
“The first repercussion is that you are now saying to the world that either it’s not a priority or you are not able to measure up to the standards are expected of what we call major league racing in this country. the fans, we believe, and our research shows, will gravitate to those tracks that are committed to health and safety,” Waldrop said.
The NTRA accreditation team is also visiting Keeneland this week and will soon inspect Pimlico Racecourse and Belmont Park, where the sport’s two other Triple Crown races are held.