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NTRA Thoroughbred Notebook

News and notes from around the Thoroughbred racing world, compiled by NTRA Communications.


The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) announced that Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn., has been fully accredited by the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance following a complete review of all racing operations at the facility.

The accreditation of Canterbury Park was the culmination of a lengthy certification process that began with the track’s completion of a 48-page written application and continued as Canterbury hosted several meetings with Alliance officials. The on-site review included inspections of all facets of the racing facility, and interviews with track executives, racetrack personnel, jockeys, owners, trainers, stewards and fans. The inspection team was comprised of Ronald Jensen, DVM; racing official Richard Lewis; and Mike Ziegler, Executive Director of the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance. Observing the inspection was Tommy G. Thompson, the independent monitor of the Alliance.

“Canterbury Park was reviewed earlier this month during its current, live meeting,” said Ziegler. “It exceeded prescribed benchmarks in many examined categories and received ‘Best Practice’ ratings in several areas including injury reporting and prevention; substance abuse and addiction prevention; catastrophic injury planning and procedure; infectious disease management; laboratory quality assurance program; and jockey disability support.”

“I’m exceedingly proud that we have received this designation from the NTRA Safety and Integrity Alliance,” said Randy Sampson, President and General Manager of Canterbury Park. “The safety of all human and equine athletes here at Canterbury will always be our number-one priority. The inspection process was very thorough, and I salute the many staff here who worked so hard to achieve this distinction.”

Canterbury Park is the 18th racing facility to be fully accredited by the Alliance. Churchill Downs and Keeneland were accredited in April 2009; Belmont Park received accreditation in May 2009; Delaware Park and Hollywood Park were accredited in June 2009; Monmouth Park was accredited in July 2009; Arlington Park and Saratoga Race Course received accreditation last August; Calder Race Course, Turfway Park and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club were accredited last September; Oak Tree at Santa Anita/Santa Anita Park received accreditation in October 2009; Fair Grounds and Aqueduct Racetrack were accredited last December; Golden Gate Fields was accredited this past February, Woodbine earned accreditation last March, and Pimlico Race Course was fully accredited in May. Also this past May, Sunland Park was granted provisional accreditation.

The 12th annual Claiming Crown is set to run this Saturday at Canterbury Park, in Shakopee, Minnesota. Six Claiming Crown races will be hosted with total purses of $500,000 offered to the connections of America’s best claiming horses. The days featured event is The TVG $150,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at 1 1/8 miles for horses that have started for a tag of $35,000 or less in 2009-10.

Three of the four winningest trainers in the country are shipping entrants to Canterbury. Steve Asmussen, the leader with 321 wins, has entered Sea Gaze in the $50,000 Iron Horse. Joe Woodard, second in the country with 152 wins, entered Cape Hatchet in the $50,000 Express. Jamie Ness, third with 150, entered five, all for Midwest Thoroughbreds, the leading owners in the country.

The Claiming Crown is a partnership of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) and the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The races will be televised live on TVG, with Ken Rudulph anchoring from Canterbury Park.