Keeneland’s Commitment to the Safety and Welfare of Horse and Rider
Keeneland was founded in the 1930s with the mission to put the best interests of the horse first. Throughout our history, the safety and welfare of horse and rider has been priority No. 1. Toward that goal, Keeneland continues to invest significantly in state-of-the-art technology and expertise to provide safe and consistent racing surfaces; support health and welfare research to benefit horse and rider; fund Thoroughbred aftercare; and be a leader in promoting transparency and study.
Under the leadership of Vice President of Equine Safety Dr. Stuart Brown, Keeneland deploys innovative strategies that further strengthen its safety protocols. These efforts on behalf of the equine athlete in daily racing and training represent a comprehensive collaborative effort led by Dr. Brown in association with Racing Safety Officer Dr. George Mundy and involves the racing, race track maintenance and management, security, starting gate and outrider teams at Keeneland. These teams, in turn, works with Keeneland-based horsemen and their attending veterinarians as well as state regulatory veterinarians, to monitor every horse in training at Keeneland and The Thoroughbred Center (TTC).
Dr. Brown coordinates closely with Director of Racing Surfaces Jim Pendergest, who oversees the dirt, turf and all-weather tracks at both Keeneland and TTC, and Track Superintendent Alfredo Laureano to employ the most advanced race track technology and research.
In fulfillment of our mission, Keeneland has, throughout its 86-year history, been at the forefront nationally in support of research and initiatives which optimize the care of riders and the safety and welfare of the equine athlete.
Keeneland stands united with the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), landmark federal legislation aimed at protecting equine athletes and raising the standard for integrity in racing.
First announced at Keeneland and signed into federal law in December 2020, HISA is responsible for drafting and enforcing uniform safety and integrity rules in Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. Overseen by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), HISA was created to implement, for the first time, a national, uniform set of rules applicable to every Thoroughbred racing participant and race track facility. HISA comprises two programs: the Racetrack Safety Program, which went into effect July 1, 2022, and the Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) Program, which will go into effect in January 2023. Learn more about HISA here.
NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance Accreditation
Keeneland was among the first race tracks in North America to earn accreditation by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety & Integrity Alliance in 2009. Since then, Keeneland has been fully reaccredited every two years. Alliance certification standards address an extensive list of safety and integrity concerns within six broad areas: injury reporting and prevention; creating a safer racing environment; aftercare and transition of retired racehorses; uniform medication, testing and penalties; safety research and wagering security.
Keeneland is a founding partner of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation’s Kentucky Initiative, dedicated to building on traditional support throughout Kentucky for research to advance equine health and welfare. Keeneland recently demonstrated its continuing commitment by donating $100,000 to the Foundation to enable the sponsorship of Grayson-approved projects such as Dr. Sue Stover’s “Training Programs for Prevention of Fetlock Injury.”
Keeneland also hosts for the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, a two-day workshop coordinated and underwritten by the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and The Jockey Club. Held every two years, most recently in June 2022, the summit brings together representatives from the breeding, racing and veterinary communities to discuss important topics. Many of racing’s most exciting safety advances – among them the Equine Injury Database, Jockey Injury Database, Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory, a uniform trainer test and study guide and racing surfaces white paper – have germinated from these expert discussions.