Racetracks and the people who operate them – from racing office and surface maintenance staff to racetrack management – are the hub for HISA’s implementation activities. Under HISA, each track is part of the broader racing ecosystem and culture of safety: our horses train and race on the track itself, hundreds of horses live in the stable area with those who care for them close by, and racetrack personnel facilitate and operate the majority of activity subject to HISA’s rules and regulations. Track operations and responsibilities fall into four categories under HISA:
- Racetrack Management
- Racing Office
- Track Maintenance & Facilities
- Racetrack Accreditation
HISA’s Racetrack Safety Program established several management roles at each track or shared jurisdiction to oversee the implementation of its rules and national accreditation standards.
- The Safety Director oversees all aspects of equine safety, track safety, and safety of the personnel working with horses. This position may be shared within and among jurisdictions subject to the approval of HISA’s Racetrack Safety Committee.
- The Medical Director, who oversees the care and organizations of the medical needs of jockeys, must be a licensed physician or board-certified athletic trainer. This position may be shared within and among the jurisdictions subject to the approval of HISA’s Racetrack Safety Committee.
- The Racetrack Safety Officer ensures all activities and practices involving training and racing meet HISA’s safety standards and regulatory guidelines.
The Safety Director reports to the Racetrack Safety and Welfare Committee (RSWC), which reviews the circumstances around injuries, fatalities and other racetrack safety issues with the goal of identifying possible contributing risk factors that can be mitigated. The RSWC is chaired by the jurisdiction’s regulatory vet and must also include an association veterinarian, the Medical Director, a Safety Officer or Steward, a horsemen’s representative, a jockey, a trainer, the Racing Secretary and the Racetrack Superintendent.
Racing office personnel often serve as a conduit between horsemen and HISA as it relates to Racetrack Safety regulation compliance. Requirements such as claimed horse information transfers and registration monitoring fall within the daily operations of the racing office as does the enforcement of “can’t race” statuses of owners, trainers and jockeys.
Track Maintenance & Facilities
Track surface data is needed to inform our understanding of the factors that contribute to a safe racing surface. Under the Racetrack and Racing Surface Monitoring and Maintenance rules, tracks are required to maintain written operating procedures detailing how racing and training surfaces are maintained as a normal part of operations. Track superintendents are also responsible for administering pre-meet surface tests, daily testing and documentation of the surface’s response to maintenance procedures and submitting those materials to HISA.
HISA’s accreditation standards also include facility requirements and the development of emergency drills as well as protocols for catastrophic injury response, fire safety, hazardous weather, infectious disease management, accident reporting and more.
The Racetrack Safety Program’s national racetrack accreditation process includes an initial audit compiled by racetrack personnel and submitted to the Racetrack Safety Committee, onsite inspections by HISA personnel to confirm compliance or monitor the status of the track’s efforts to come into compliance and the submission of annual reports. The Racetrack Safety Committee assesses the initial inspection and subsequent reporting to determine whether the Authority issues accreditation, provisional accreditation or no accreditation.