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Safety First at CDI Racetracks

Churchill Downs Incorporated logo
Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI” or “the Company”) (NASDAQ: CHDN) today re-emphasized the ongoing safety initiatives its four racetracks have in place as part of the Company’s Safety from Start to Finish program. The Company will continue to highlight these safety and integrity measures as three CDI tracks – Arlington Park, Calder Casino & Race Course and Churchill Downs Racetrack – conduct their spring racing seasons and as Churchill Downs hosts the 138th renewals of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby on May 4-5 in Louisville, Ky.
 
CDI’s Safety from Start to Finish program was launched in March 2009 and is a comprehensive approach to continually improving the safety of the horses and human beings who work, train and compete at CDI racing venues.
 
“Horses will compete in more than 30,000 races at CDI’s four tracks this year, and the health, welfare and safety of our equine and human athletes and employees remains paramount,” said CDI President & Chief Operating Officer William C. Carstanjen. “With Kentucky Derby Week and our 2012 spring race meets upon us, it’s important to reaffirm our long-term and far-reaching commitment to incorporate significant health and welfare measures in all aspects of our business operations. Safety is an issue that everyone in the industry equally shares responsibility for, from breeders, owners and trainers to jockeys and racetracks to the state racing regulators who establish the rules under which we conduct racing. We’re passionate about our commitment and pleased to be working again across the industry to ensure that health and safety is maximized at our facilities for every race, every day.”
 
Key features of the Safety from Start to Finish program include:
 
•       * Independent, standardized third-party engineering analysis, testing and monitoring of track surfaces;
•      * “Supertesting” of all winning horses in every race for more than 100 performance-enhancing drugs;
•       * Age restrictions requiring Thoroughbreds to be at least 24 calendar months of age before becoming eligible to race;
•       * The banning of steroids;
•       * The prohibition of “milkshaking”, which results in excessive levels of total carbon dioxide in Thoroughbred racehorses;
•       * Prohibiting the transport of horses from CDI facilities for slaughter;
•       * Permanent revocation of stall privileges for any owner or trainer who sells a horse for slaughter that was previously stabled at a CDI track;
•       * The banning of unsafe horseshoes, including front shoe toe grabs longer than two millimeters;
•       * The use of low-impact riding whips with restricted usage rules;
•       The presence of on-site medical personnel, equipment, and state-of-the-art equine ambulances;
•       * Immediate online access to jockey medical histories for emergency medical personnel;
•       * $1 million in catastrophic injury insurance coverage per accident for jockeys;
•       * Mandatory and uniform reporting of equine injuries to The Jockey Club’s national Equine Injury Database System, thereby assisting in the compilation of comprehensive data and facilitating statistical analysis to improve safety around the country;
•       * Professionally designed and installed safety rails on the inside of the dirt course;
•       * Mandatory usage by all jockeys, exercise riders and other on-track personnel of safety vests and safety helmets that meet internationally acknowledged quality standards;
•       * 3/8-inch foam padding on all parts of the starting gates;
•       * Inspection of all horses by regulatory veterinarians prior to and following all races;
•       * Review of security procedures around the barns and other racetrack backstretch areas;
•       * Protocols for the treatment of horses that have been injured during racing or training, to ensure the most humane treatment possible; and
•       * Certification by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Safety & Integrity Alliance program of all CDI tracks.
 
CDI tracks will continue to work with Dr. Mick Peterson, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maine who is widely considered the world’s foremost racing surfaces researcher, to routinely conduct engineering analyses and tests of their respective racing surfaces for safety and consistency. CDI has worked with Dr. Peterson to evaluate its racing surfaces since launching the Safety from Start to Finish program three years ago.
 
Through the Safety from Start to Finish program, CDI and its employees also raise money and awareness for non-profit aftercare programs that help care for and find new homes and careers for retired racehorses.
 
Calder Casino & Race Course opened its season April 9. Churchill Downs kicks off its 138th Spring Meet on Saturday (April 28) with the “Opening Night” event.  Arlington Park debuts its 2012 racing season on Friday, May 4 just in time for the Kentucky Oaks and the Chicago area’s largest Derby party on Saturday, May 5. Meanwhile, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots will resume live racing this summer with its annual Quarter Horse Meet.
 
Additional information about CDI’s Safety from Start to Finish program can be found online at www.churchilldowns.com/safety.
 

 

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