(Churchill Downs President Kevin Flanery speaks at the launch for TSC / Photo by Gene McLean)

From The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition:

Thoroughbred Safety Coalition Launches Accountability Tracker to Mark Progress in Initiating Equine Safety Reforms


For Immediate Release: May 5, 2020

Contact: [email protected]


While the Thoroughbred racing community comes together to protect and support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coalition also remains committed to its ongoing equine safety and reform efforts and has continued to make progress on these reforms.


The Thoroughbred Safety Coalition today launched a new online tool to mark the progress its members have made, and will continue to make, in implementing and advocating for a uniform set of reforms to make racing safer, increase accountability and secure the integrity of the sport across all 38 racing jurisdictions in the U.S.


The new “Accountability Tracker” details the status of individual tracks’ efforts to implement the Coalition’s reform platform, which is made up of a series of increased medication restrictions, enhanced reporting and transparency requirements and other operational safety and integrity protocols to ensure equine athletes are fit to train and race.


“Protecting our athletes requires an industry-wide effort that touches on every facet of the Thoroughbred racing community, from breeding and sales to training and racing to the emergency policies we have in place for a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our sport is only as healthy as its athletes, and strengthening accountability is necessary step towards making their safety and well-being everyone’s top priority,” said Donna Brothers, the Coalition’s Strategic Adviser. “This new tool is an important way for our members to continue to hold themselves, and each other, accountable while encouraging other organizations to join us in our pursuit of increased transparency.”


The tracker lists reforms in two categories: track-level, which are implemented by Coalition tracks and their respective state racing commissions, and Coalition-level, which are implemented through Coalition-wide efforts. These include:

  • Medical Reforms:
    • Phase out the use of Furosemide (Lasix)
    • Increase the withdrawal time for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to 48 hours pre-race
    • Prohibit concurrent use of multiple NSAIDs
    • Establish a 14-day minimum pre-race withdrawal time for corticosteroid joint injections
    • Prohibit concurrent usage of multiple corticosteroids
    • Prohibit the use of bisphosphonates on horses in training or racing, with a penalty of 12 months on the vets’ list if detected
    • Increase the stand-down period after the administration of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT)
  • Operational Reforms:
    • Adopt “voided claim” rules to deter the entry of horses that are unfit for competition
    • Mandate direct daily reporting by vets to regulatory officials
    • Perform random, out-of-competition testing on horses without limitation
    • Adopt a uniform riding-crop rule, limiting crop use and defining crop specifications
    • Mandate necropsies for all equine fatalities
    • Enforce minimum timed thoroughbred workout requirements
  • Organizational Reforms:
    • Create an electronic veterinary reporting system and centralized database
    • Collect racing surface data and merge information with existing databases
    • Standardize protocols for ensuring jockey health and wellness
    • Develop a proficiency system for exercise riders
    • Create a safety steward position in all jurisdictions
    • Establish cross-functional safety committees at all participating race tracks
    • Mandate increased licensing requirements for trainers


The tracker will be updated on a regular basis as implementation efforts continue to progress and new reforms are developed.