04/16/2009 11:00PM

Keeneland gets safety approval

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Keeneland Race Course on Friday became the second track announced as fully accredited by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Safety and Integrity Alliance, joining Churchill Downs, which was accredited last week.

Mike Ziegler, the executive director of the alliance, was joined at a press conference Friday morning at the Keeneland library by Nick Nicholson, Keeneland's president and chief executive officer; Alex Waldrop, the president and chief executive officer of the NTRA; and Tommy Thompson, the former Governor of Wisconsin and United States Health and Human Services Secretary who has been hired as the alliance's independent monitor.

Ziegler and Nicholson cited, among other factors, Keeneland's policy of having jockey medical records gathered electronically to facilitate their forwarding to a hospital if a jockey is transported there with an injury.

"The records are at the emergency room before the jockey even leaves the track," Nicholson said.

To be accredited, Keeneland submitted a 48-page application, and then the alliance monitors - including Ziegler and Thompson - reviewed that data and did an on-site inspection. The application included all manner of safety related to both horses and humans.

The accreditation lasts two years. Waldrop said he was desirous of having all 55 NTRA member tracks become accredited.

"We want Keeneland to become the norm, not the exception," Waldrop said. "Two down, 53 to go."