Thoroughbred — Chapter 17: The Starter

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17.01.01  Only the Starter or in their absence the Assistant Starter or in the absence of both a deputy approved by the Stewards may start a race.

17.01.02  The Starter shall give all orders and take all measures necessary to ensure a fair start.

17.01.03  The Steward’s decision as to the validity of a start shall be final; likewise their decision as to whether or not a horse was locked in the gate shall be final.

17.01.04  The Stewards may appoint one of their number to supervise the start of any race.

17.02  If the Starter or his/her assistants are unable, after reasonable efforts, to place a horse in the gate for a satisfactory start, or if the horse is fractious or unruly, the Starter may request the horse be scratched by the Stewards. Such horse may be placed on the Stewards List and shall be placed on the Starters List.

17.02.01  When attempting to place a horse in the starting gate, the starting gate personnel shall not mistreat horses in any manner that may be contrary to a horse’s welfare. Any aspect of a starting gate personnel’s technique, equipment, and/or method or practice which, in the opinion of the Stewards may cause harm to the horse or be contrary to a horse’s welfare, shall be a violation. Prohibited equipment includes, but is not limited to, buggy whips and ear tongs. 

17.03  Horses shall take their positions in numerical order following a consistent pattern, unless otherwise approved by the Stewards. 

17.04  All horses being entered for the first time shall be first approved at the starting gate in the current year by the Starter or the Starter’s Assistant, and such approval to start slips must be handed in to the Racing Secretary’s office before or at the time such horses are entered. In the case of horses shipping in from outside of Ontario, the approval slip must be delivered to the Racing Secretary’s office two (2) hours before post time for the first race of that racing card or the horse will be scratched. The date of approval must be no longer than 30 clear days in the current year prior to entry for the horse’s first start. The responsibility of handing said slips in to the Racing Secretary’s office must be borne by the individual making the entry.

17.05  The approval of the Starter must be obtained for all horses which have never started at an Ontario track if, in the Starter’s opinion, the horse’s record indicates that such horse has been in trouble at the starting gate. A horse which has refused to leave a starting gate on any race track must be schooled to the satisfaction of the Stewards and the Starter, before being entered in any race.

17.06.01  The Starter shall maintain a schooling list, and horses shall be schooled to barrier or starting gate, if and when required under the personal supervision of the Starter or his/her assistants.

17.06.02  Only the Starter shall have the authority to designate the horses which shall constitute the schooling list.

17.07.01  The Starter shall file a copy of the schooling list with the racing secretary.

17.07.02  The Starter shall report to the racing secretary as soon as a horse on the list has been schooled sufficiently to be permitted to start.

17.07.03  Any horse whose name appears on the Starter’s list shall not be eligible to enter or start in any race until the Starter orders its name to be stricken from the schooling list.

17.08  The Starter may assess a monetary penalty or suspend a jockey for disobedience of his/her orders at the starting point or for attempting any unfair advantage or for unruly conduct or for the use of abusive language. A suspension by the Starter shall not exceed ten (10) days and a monetary penalty imposed by the Starter shall not exceed $200.00. Such monetary penalty and/or suspension shall be subject to the approval of the Stewards.

17.09  The Starter shall report in writing to the Stewards and to the racing secretary all monetary penalties and suspensions which he/she has imposed and no monetary penalties or suspensions, so reported, shall be modified other than by the Registrar.

17.10  All races shall be started from a starting gate approved by the Registrar. The Registrar’s approval or non-approval of a starting gate is not subject to appeal.

17.11  Deleted.

17.12  If a horse is locked in the gate the Starter shall immediately notify the Stewards who shall order the horse scratched.

17.13  If any horse grouped in the mutuel field leaves the starting gate in a valid start, all horses in the mutuel field will be regarded as starters. In the case of a part of mutuel field which has become locked in the gate; such horse shall be considered a non-starter in regard to conditions for future races only.

17.14  The following rules related to starting gate safety shall be followed:

  1. At all starts, Associations shall have some method of mechanically removing the starting gate from the racing strip;
  2. In addition, a tractor shall be available at the starting gate for emergencies;
  3. No person shall ride on the starting gate while it is in motion, except the person steering the hind wheels. That person must be seated on the seat supplied for this purpose

17.15  Deleted.

17.16  No licensee of the Commission shall offer a benefit to the Starter or any of their assistants, directly or indirectly, nor shall the Starter or any of their assistants accept any benefit from any person in this regard, whether or not such person is licensed by the Commission.

17.17  Neither the Starter nor their assistants shall mistreat or use abusive language to a jockey.