Photo courtesy Dr. Mick Peterson.

The newly launched Racecourse Manager Certification Program: Grader School is focused on educating the next generation of racecourse managers.

The Racecourse Manager Certification Program: Grader School, which will be held Sept. 13-15 at Keeneland Race Course, offers early career professionals the opportunity to develop highly focused, hands-on expertise that will allow them to adapt and excel to the changing demands of horse racing surfaces in Kentucky as well as around the world.

The most common surfaces used for Thoroughbred racing are dirt and synthetic surfaces. One of the highest priorities and the most difficult part of maintaining a racecourse is the accurate grading of dirt and synthetic racing surfaces.

The second session of the continuing education program for equine professionals is the Grader School, which offers combined theory and practice sessions on the grading of racing surfaces. This program is a combined effort of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Safety and Integrity Alliance, the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory.

The Grader School will consist of online lectures and examinations in preparation for a two-day intensive workshop at Keeneland. Taught by superintendents of two of the leading racecourses in the United States, Alfredo Laureano and Dennis Moore, the class will include the operation of both a state-of-the-art and an older model grader. Practice sessions will include measuring grades on turns and straights and the proper operation of a grader on dirt and synthetic surfaces.

The initial class is limited to six students. Both the hands-on workshop and online training will be expanded as demand increases. The Sept. 13-15 session requires completion of an application form and a letter of recommendation from an experienced racecourse manager. Priority will be given to younger full-time track maintenance personnel who demonstrate an interest in a career in racetrack maintenance. Applications may be obtained by emailing a request to

Information about the overall program, including the turf program, is available here. The recorded courses can be watched for free on the UK Ag Equine Programs YouTube channel. The University of Kentucky will be administering the certification program. The Racecourse Manager Certification Program is sponsored by John Deere, Duralock, Horsemen’s Track and Equipment, Inc. and Equinox Racing.

If you are interested in this or future programs, please sign up to receive email updates here.

About the NTRA
The NTRA, based in Lexington, Ky., is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development. The NTRA owns and manages the NTRA Safety & Integrity Alliance;; the Eclipse Awards; the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC); NTRA Advantage, a corporate partner sales and sponsorship program; and Horse PAC®, a federal political action committee. NTRA press releases appear on and social media.

| Source: edited news release.