12/17/2009 1:00AM

Fair Grounds accredited by NTRA Alliance


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Safety and Integrity Alliance has accredited Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots in New Orleans, according to the organization and the track.

Fair Grounds is the fourth and last track owned by Churchill Downs Inc. to be accredited by the alliance, which launched its accreditation program earlier this year. Churchill also owns Churchill Downs in Louisville, Calder Race Course in Florida, and Arlington Park outside of Chicago.

Officials from the alliance visited the track on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 to perform inspections and conduct interviews, the alliance said. Mike Ziegler, the alliance's executive director, said that Fair Grounds "exceeded prescribed benchmarks on many fronts."

The alliance was formed late in 2008 to address concerns about racing's public perception. In 2008, racing was the subject of a congressional hearing that sought to bring attention to catastrophic injuries and illegal drug use.

The alliance has accredited 13 tracks in total. Participation in the accreditation process is voluntary.