Racetrack Safety

Dave O'Rourke Joins The TDN Writers' Room

Not much has changed at the New York Racing Association in recent years, but that's about to change. A new Belmont Park is now in the planning stages and is expected to be ready for the 2026 spring meet. And what about the GI Belmont S.? Will the three Triple Crown tracks stick to tradition or will there be an overhaul of the series, which would likely mean that the final leg of the Triple Crown will be pushed back a few weeks? To answer to those questions and more,...

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KHRC Update on Churchill's Horse Fatalities

On the heels of both the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) and Churchill Downs updating horsemen and the public Thursday on actions taken regarding the 12 equine deaths since Apr. 27 at the Louisville oval, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) issued an update of their own Friday afternoon outlining investigative actions already taken and planned to be taken in the future. The statement, which originated from the Commonwealth of Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, appears in its entirety below: "The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) takes the safety of...

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Churchill Downs Unveils New Safety Initiatives

In the wake of 12 horses suffering fatal injuries since Apr. 27 and after a Thursday meeting with horsemen, Churchill Downs announced new safety initiatives that will go into effect immediately. They are: A pause of track-based incentives such as trainer start bonuses and purse pay-out allocations to every race finisher through last place. Purse pay-outs will now be limited to the top five finishers. Churchill Downs officials will engage in ongoing discussions with horsemen to determine ways to reallocate these funds to best serve industry needs. With record-high purses,...

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Federal Bill To Replace HISA Reportedly In Pipeline

A federal bill aimed at replacing the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) with a regulatory system modeled around an interstate compact is reportedly in the pipeline. The president of the United States Trotting Association (USTA), Russell Williams, disclosed the news about the pending legislation Mar. 21 during a special meeting of the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC). Williams addressed the PHRC Tuesday just prior to the board voting in favor of entering into three nine-month agreements with the HISA Authority that pertain to the Racetrack Safety Program, the Horseracing...

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Racetrack Surfaces: Where HISA's Rubber Meets the Road

The closer the clock ticks down to Nov. 4, when Turf Paradise's latest 130-day meet is scheduled to launch, the louder will the questions resound about the facility's historically checkered approach to equine welfare and safety. Near the midway point during last year's Turf Paradise meet, its equine fatality rate was more than 2.8 deaths per 1,000 starts. This compares to the national equine fatality rate of 1.39 per 1,000 starts last year. Between Oct. 10, 2021, and May 7, 2022, 11 horses were fatally injured during morning training at...

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June Now Best Guess for Laurel's Main Track to Be Fixed

Mounting problems that have forced the closure of the main dirt track at Laurel Park are now tentatively anticipated to be fixed by the start of June. But difficulties related to the sourcing and testing of materials for the base and cushion are keeping the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) from setting an exact timetable for the return of racing and training at its primary venue. On Thursday, the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) met at Laurel for the board's first in-person monthly meeting since the onset of the pandemic. But Laurel's...

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Data the Focus of Peterson Surfaces Presentation

Dr. Mick Peterson, Executive Director of the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and Professor, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky gave a presentation entitled "Track Surfaces: International standards for racing surfaces and the expansion of the Maintenance Quality System"  Tuesday as part of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation's weekly webinar series. The series was developed to make up for the cancellation of the ninth Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit due to the coronavirus pandemic. Peterson's presentation was divided into three parts--"current best practices for testing and documentation of...

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Jockey Club Donates Over $750K to Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory

The Jockey Club has completed a contribution of more than $750,000 from its commercial businesses to the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory (RSTL) for equipment and other assets to expand services to additional racetracks across North America, the organization announced Tuesday. The need to increase and sustain the future of research and innovation in track safety testing by the RSTL was expressed by Dr. Nancy Cox, dean, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky, at The Jockey Club's Aug. 11, 2019, Round Table Conference. Following Dr. Cox's remarks last...

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