01/26/2009 12:00AM

NTRA picks safety panel leader


A former racetrack executive, Mike Ziegler, has been hired by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to head up its Safety and Integrity Alliance, the NTRA announced on Monday.

Ziegler, who since September has been a vice president of the account-wagering company Youbet.com, had spent most of his career working at California racetracks, including as vice president and assistant general manager of Hollywood Park.

Ziegler, 38, will be based at the NTRA's Lexington, Ky., office.

The Safety and Integrity Alliance was formed last year in response to public criticism of catastrophic racetrack injuries. Under the program, racetracks will need to comply with a list of yet-to-be-determined requirements in order to be "certified" by the alliance. The requirements will be designed to address safety issues at racetracks, according to the NTRA.

Ziegler said that the NTRA has not adopted a specific timetable to develop the requirements, though the NTRA expects to have 30 tracks accredited by the end of 2009.

"Nothing is concrete yet," Ziegler said. 'The goal is to get as much buy-in as possible, and so we'll be working on how to achieve that."