09/20/2016 3:17PM

W.Va. tracks required to meet safety, integrity standards


The West Virginia Racing Commission on Tuesday adopted a rule that will require the state’s two Thoroughbred racetracks to apply for accreditation through a program run by an industry-funded group.

Under the rule, Mountaineer Racetrack and Charles Town Races will have 45 days to apply for accreditation from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety and Integrity Alliance. The accreditation program requires tracks to meet standards developed by the Safety and Integrity Alliance, which was launched by the NTRA in 2008. Racetracks are required to pay a portion of the costs for the accreditation process, which requires site inspections from alliance personnel.

Officials for both tracks did not respond immediately to phone calls on Tuesday afternoon.

West Virginia is the first state to adopt a rule requiring tracks to participate in the accreditation process, which is voluntary for all other U.S. tracks.

The NTRA, which is funded by a large number of racing constituencies, including racetracks, says that 24 tracks are currently accredited under the program, including most of the major racetracks in the U.S. A racetrack that is not approved for full accreditation often must invest in its racing facilities or racing surfaces to meet the alliance’s standards, and it is sometimes the case that a state’s racing commission must adopt new rules to satisfy accreditation standards related to drug-testing or use of medications.

It is unlikely that the West Virginia Racing Commission would need to adopt any additional rules to satisfy accreditation requirements for tracks, as West Virginia is one of 11 states to have fully adopted a set of model rules regarding medication use and drug testing that is endorsed by all major racing organizations.