Friday, May 15, 2020

During this extraordinary time, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is continuing its activities and services for the sectors we regulate. We wish to offer as much guidance and support as we can to all those who rely on the AGCO’s services and continue to work closely with and support the provincial government with its greater public health objectives.

Our Racing Officials are working with a number of industry stakeholders including racetrack management, horsepersons’ associations, veterinarians, and wagering bodies to seek input and address concerns related to the start of racing, while keeping in mind the welfare and safety of equine and human athletes. We are exploring topics like eligibility rules, inspections of racetrack surfaces, the use of technology in racing, and social distancing practices, to help alleviate burden on the industry and support the start of racing.

Once horse racing in Ontario resumes operation, the AGCO will continue to conduct its horse racing related activities to maintain the safety of participants and the integrity of the sport. To that end, the AGCO is announcing four initiatives to advance the health and safety of equine and human athletes, that will go into effect once horse racing in Ontario resumes:

  1. Information Bulletin No. 80 – Concussion Protocol to be Implemented at Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse Racetracks
    The AGCO is implementing a Concussion Protocol across all Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racetracks, at the start of their respective racing seasons for all jockeys and exercise riders exercising or racing at Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racetracks (Woodbine, Fort Erie and Ajax Downs).

  2. Information Bulletin No. 81 – AGCO Launches Equine Medication Use and Awareness E-Learning Course
    The AGCO has developed an Equine Medication Use and Awareness Program to raise awareness of horse racing licensee obligations related to the use of equine medication and help prevent equine medication misuse by horse racing participants, which will be launched when racing resumes.

  3. Information Bulletin No. 82 – Revision to Racing Under Saddle (RUS) Rules within the Rules of Standardbred Racing
    The AGCO is revising the existing licence renewal process for Racing Under Saddle (RUS) races outlined in 25.01.01 of the Rules of Standardbred Racing, which will be launched when racing resumes. 

  4. Information Bulletin No. 83 – Revision to Urging Provisions for Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse and Standardbred Racing
    The AGCO is expanding the 2019 revised urging provisions for Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing and is reiterating the penalty guidelines for all racetracks in Ontario, which will be launched when racing resumes.

The AGCO is working with the industry to identify potential temporary revisions to the Rules of Racing. These revisions would accommodate the resumption of racing by reducing the burden on participants while also balancing the need to uphold the health and safety of licensees and racehorses. Once any revisions have been finalized, a subsequent announcement will be released with details, including an effective date for these welfare announcement initiatives.

These AGCO horse racing welfare initiatives are part of our ongoing commitment to protecting Ontario’s racehorses, enhancing the integrity of racing and providing a regulatory framework appropriate for today’s racing industry. For more information on the AGCO’s reforms to the regulatory rules that govern horse racing, please see Moving Ahead: Horse Racing Regulatory Reform and Engagement.


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