05/10/2010 12:00AM

Pimlico fully accredited for safety


Pimlico Race Course, the Baltimore track that will host the Preakness Stakes this Saturday, has received full accreditation from the racing industry's Safety and Integrity Alliance, one year after alliance officials told the track that some of its rules and regulations needed to be updated to comply with the terms of the program.

Alliance officials said the track had addressed the deficiencies by lobbying state racing regulators, updating its own procedures, and submitting to an assessment by racing-security officials. Of 17 tracks that had been accredited by the alliance, only Pimlico failed to receive full accreditation. Instead, the track was granted "provisional accreditation" last year, one week before the Preakness, so long as it pursued the changes.

"We are pleased to grant Pimlico full accreditation following the many positive steps it has taken since last year's provisional accreditation," said Mike Ziegler, the executive director of the alliance, which was established by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association late in 2008 to address public-perception concerns about racing.

In the past year, Maryland's racing commission has adopted new rules on the types of approved whips and allowing for pre-race testing for alkalizing agents. The commission is also in the process of adopting rules to allow for out-of-competition testing and the testing of frozen samples.

The Safety and Integrity Alliance is a voluntary program. Tracks that petition for accreditation have to comply with a laundry list of requirements that have been devised by the alliance.