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Today's Interview: UK Racetrack Safety Crews Keep a Busy Schedule

Racetrack Safety Director at UK Mick Peterson in the lab
Stu Johnson
Racetrack Safety Director at UK Mick Peterson in the lab

The federal Horse Integrity and Safety Act is impacting how horse racing addresses potential concerns for both horse and rider. That includes issues related to the track surface.

In addition to the storybook victory by Mage in the Kentucky Derby, the loss of seven horses through various means couldn’t be overlooked. Any kind of determination as to the cause of some of the fatalities will take some time.

Mick Peterson is the director of racetrack safety at the University of Kentucky. He and his crews are busy evaluating tracks all over. And Peterson says problem areas are found sometimes, but it’s hard to make a direct connection to an incident.

“We don’t know which issues are serious. We know the ones that are areas of concern and we fix them. So, yes there are tracks where we’ve found things where I don’t think it was appropriate and we fixed them.”

The advent of HISA greatly impacted the number of track evaluations. Peterson says it’s gone from about 20 previously to more than 70 this year.

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The Associated Press
Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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