Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) announced Thursday its safety initiatives in place for the 2010 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1), following the creation in March, 2009, of its Safety from Start to Finish, a comprehensive, ongoing initiative to improve the safety of both horses and people at CDI's four racetracks.

The key Safety from Start to Finish initiatives that are in place for the 2010 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, as well as for the 4,000 races that will be conducted at CDI tracks throughout this year, are as follows:

* Independent, standardized third-party testing and monitoring of track surfaces;

* "Supertesting" of all winning horses for more than 100 performance-enhancing drugs for every race;

* 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 limited 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 for jockeys;

* Mandatory and uniform reporting of equine injuries to the Equine Injury Database System, thereby assisting in the compilation of statistics and trends to improve safety conditions around the country;

* Professionally designed and installed safety rails on the inside of the dirt courses;

* 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; and

* Continued maintenance of protocols for the treatment of horses that have been injured during racing or training, to ensure the most humane treatment possible.

New 'Sense & Apply' water truck research project

CDI has been a founding member of and a financial contributor to the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory (RSTL) founded by Dr. Michael "Mick" Peterson Ph.D., to support independent, and standardized testing and monitoring of all racing surfaces. As part of RSTL's work, it was recognized that the variation in the water content of the track cushion is the single largest variable impacting the performance of the racing surface. Beginning in 2010, CDI will fund research into the possible development of an advanced track water truck that uses moisture sensors and Global Positioning System capability to determine the moisture content of various parts of the track and alter the application of water in real time, to improve the consistency of the surface.

"The Advanced Water Truck development initiative is a key element in the ongoing investment by CDI to precisely control the moisture content, composition and dynamic response of the racetrack surface," Dr. Peterson said. "This engineering project will begin to address the challenges we face in controlling the large area of the racing surface which has to be ready to perform in all kinds of weather."

Churchill Downs Safety Center raises $50,000 for Racehorse Retirement

As part of Safety from Start to Finish, CDI has worked toward better communication with race fans and the general public about what the industry is doing to improve safety. Tens of thousands of people have viewed the interactive and educational Safety Center located inside Gate 17 at Churchill Downs Racetrack. As part of the Safety Center experience, fans have the opportunity to contribute to racehorse retirement. Combined with a contribution from CDI, the Safety Center has raised over $50,000 which has been contributed to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) to assist in the TRF's efforts in the area of equine aftercare.

All CDI Tracks fully accredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance

During 2009, all of CDI's racetracks were individually accredited for a two year period by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety & Integrity Alliance program. Churchill Downs was the first track in the United States to receive such accreditation and all four CDI racetracks were noted by the Safety & Integrity Alliance for safety measures that were considered "best-practices" in the industry.

"Thoroughbred horses typically weigh about a thousand pounds and, when racing or training, travel at speeds up to 40 miles per hour," said Bob Evans, President and CEO of Churchill Downs Incorporated. "It is impossible to prevent all accidents, but that shouldn't stop us from trying. If we can make progress across all dimensions of Thoroughbred racing, including breeding, training, race riding and track conditions, we can continue to make progress against the ultimate goal of zero injuries to horses and people.

"In developing the Safety from Start to Finish program, we have benefited greatly from the work done in prior years by The Jockey Club, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium, the Breeders' Cup, Keeneland Race Course, the racing regulators in the states in which we operate, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, the veterinarians who are part of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the horsemen in many states," Evans added. "We hope we can continue to make and share progress on the important issue of safety."

For more information about the Churchill Downs Safety from Start to Finish initiative, please visit the Safety Center at Gate 17, at Churchill Downs racetrack, or log on to