Other Important Safety Initiatives

(Previous: Post-Race Safety)

CDI has extensively examined the issue of “field size,” or the number of horses permitted to compete in any given race.  The studies have taken into account the age of the horses competing, the length of the race, the surface on which the race is conducted, the position of the starting gate relative to the track’s first turn, the width of the racetrack, the radius of the racetrack’s turns, and other dimensional attributes.  For many years, CDI tracks have limited the field size of certain races based on these variables.  After further review, Churchill Downs will now limit field sizes in additional races, including 4 ½-furlong dirt races.  Those races will now be limited to 10 starters instead of the previous maximum of 12.  This rule, implemented due to the short run into the first turn, will be in effect as of the 2009 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.  In addition, Arlington Park and its horsemen will consider starting 4 ½-furlong races at the 5-furlong marker and finishing them at the 1/16-mile pole to allow for a longer run into the first turn.

Other safety initiatives in development at Churchill Downs include:

    * Out-of competition drug testing;
    * The introduction of safety reins;
    * Jockey health and wellness programs;
    * Uniform licensing of those involved in racing; and
    * Ongoing safety and welfare education and training of those involved in racing.

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