05/28/2009 11:00PM

Belmont gets NTRA safety nod


Belmont Park, the New York racetrack that will host the third leg of the Triple Crown next Saturday, has been accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Safety and Integrity Alliance, the NTRA announced on Friday.

Belmont received the accreditation after an inspection of the track and a review of the track's safety measures. Belmont is the third racetrack to be accredited by the alliance, following Churchill Downs and Keeneland. Pimlico Race Course, the site of the Preakness Stakes, received only provisional accreditation because the track did not meet some of the NTRA's requirements.

The NTRA launched the safety alliance last year to address public concerns about the safety of racehorses following several high-profile breakdowns over the past several years. Participation in the alliance is voluntary, and the NTRA has no power to force racetracks to adopt its recommendations.

Charles Hayward, the president of the New York Racing Association, which operates Belmont, said he expected NYRA's other two tracks, Aqueduct and Saratoga, also to receive accreditation from the alliance later this year. The alliance has focused its initial efforts on the Triple Crown tracks because of their high profiles during the three-race series.