Toronto, ON – In order to protect the integrity of horse racing in Ontario, and to ensure the highest standards of equine and human health and safety, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has suspended the licence of Thoroughbred trainer, Robert Gerl of Palgrave, Ontario, for 20 years. The suspension takes effect May 30, 2022. The AGCO has also issued Mr. Gerl a monetary penalty of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00).
The AGCO has taken these regulatory actions due to alleged infractions of the Rules of Thoroughbred Racing involving two horses (“ARAFAT” and “KOMUNIST”) trained by Mr. Gerl, that tested positive for ostarine (enobosarm), a non-therapeutic substance.
Ontario’s Rules of Racing include clear restrictions on the use of prohibited drugs or substances for horses so as to protect the horses, jockeys and drivers, and uphold the integrity of the sport. The health and welfare of the racehorse and the integrity of racing is of paramount interest to the AGCO, and it will continue to hold those who fail to follow regulations accountable for their actions.
A licensed horse racing participant issued a Ruling under the Rules of Racing has the right to appeal the AGCO’s action to the Horse Racing Appeal Panel (HRAP) which is an independent adjudicative body mandated to hear appeals of decisions.
“The health and welfare of racehorses, and the integrity of racing are of primary concern to the AGCO. We will continue to take all appropriate actions to protect horses and maintain the fairness of racing. The administration of prohibited substances, especially non-therapeutic drugs, have no business in the sport, and positive test results can lead to severe consequences for licence holders.”
Tom Mungham, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar – AGCO
Thoroughbred horses “ARAFAT” and “KOMUNIST” participated in different races at Woodbine Racetrack in October 2021, and they finished second and fourth respectively.
In line with its focus on promoting the integrity and public confidence in horse racing in Ontario, the AGCO selects horses competing in a race to provide a post-race sample (blood) for testing. “ARAFAT” and “KOMUNIST” were selected for testing after their respective races and they both tested positive for ostarine. In addition to the post-race testing, Out of Competition testing was also conducted in October 2021, confirming the presence of the ostarine in one horse.
In addition to the suspension of the licence and the monetary penalty, the AGCO has ordered that “ARAFAT” and “KOMUNIST” be declared unplaced in their races, and their order of finish changed. All purse monies associated with these horses on the affected race dates must therefore be returned for redistribution to other participants in those races. In addition, any horses owned or controlled in whole or in part by Mr. Gerl shall not be eligible to race in Ontario.
Alleged Rule Violations
The AGCO has taken these regulatory actions for alleged violations of the following rules:
24.01(c) and (d) and 24.04
Policy Directive No. 1-2018
The Role of the AGCO
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) acts in the public interest to govern, direct, control and regulate horse racing in all its forms in Ontario, the operation of racetracks and the licensing of racetracks and racing participants.
Policy Directive No. 1-2018: Guidelines – Penalties for Equine Drug, TCO2 and Non-Therapeutic Drug Violations | Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (agco.ca)
Horse Racing Appeal Panel (HRAP)
About the AGCO
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is an Ontario provincial regulatory agency reporting to the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). It is a corporation under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario Act, 2019.
The AGCO is responsible for regulating the alcohol, gaming, horse racing and private cannabis retail sectors in Ontario in accordance with the principles of honesty and integrity, and in the public interest.