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US Horse Racing Body Announces New Safety Rules


U.S. horse racing's governing body has announced sweeping new safety reforms in the wake of the euthanization of two high-profile thorougbreds who sustained catastrophic racing injuries. As VOA's Teresa Sullivan reports, officials say the reforms aim to make racing safer for horses at tracks nationwide.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) said Wednesday in New York that it has created the "Safety and Integrity Alliance." The association also appointed former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson as its independent monitor.

NTRA President Alex Waldrop says the Alliance reforms will include a strict certification process on race tracks and strong advocacy to pass uniform laws for horse racing safety across the United States.

Waldrop says he believes the safety alliance's accreditation system will work despite lacking enforcement authority of its code of conduct. "The market will determine that it is valuable to be accredited, and if you are not accredited, you will lose market share. That is what this is intended to do. It is intended to be market driven, where a track that cannot be accredited, well then there are serious questions about whether that track needs to be operating," he said.

The ethics of horse racing and equine safety became a national issue when 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, "Barbaro," and this year's Kentucky Derby runner-up, "Eight Belles," both had to be put down [euthanized] after breaking bones in their legs while racing.

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