March 29, 2019
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is expanding current rules as of April 20, 2019 requiring Judges and Stewards to invalidate claims in instances where a horse dies during the course of a claiming race or where a horse requires euthanasia on the racetrack following a claiming race. This rule change supports the AGCO’s mandate to protect horses, participants and the integrity of racing as a whole.
The AGCO takes the death and euthanasia of race horses very seriously. Enacting rules to invalidate claims in instances where a horse dies or is euthanized on the racetrack is intended to contribute to enhanced safety of race horses and human participants, as well as the integrity of racing.
This rule change is consistent with moving towards Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Model Rules.Most jurisdictions that have claiming races have implemented a similar rule based on evidence that enacting this type of rule improves the welfare of race horses.The rule also provides protection for new owners in claim races.
The horse racing industry has been engaged on this rule change and the AGCO has received positive support for making this rule change.
In order for the claim to be invalidated, the horse must have been deemed a starter by the Judges or Stewards. The horse must have been pronounced dead directly on the racetrack surface, or had to have been euthanized before leaving the racetrack by a Commission or Official Veterinarian.
The decision to euthanize the horse following an incident on the racetrack is at the sole discretion of the Commission or Official Veterinarian, who makes the determination in the best interest of the horse.
The rule change will be in effect as of April 20, 2019.
For more information, on-duty Racing Officials may be contacted at: https://www.agco.ca/race-day-contact-list