September 30, 2019
As the next step in the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s (AGCO) commitment to protecting Ontario’s race horses, enhancing the integrity of racing, and providing a regulatory framework appropriate for today’s racing industry, the AGCO is making an amendment to the Thoroughbred Rules of Racing as well as rescinding Policy Directive No. 4-2009: Penalty Guidelines for Inappropriate Urging of a Horse in Thoroughbred Racing, to be replaced by Thoroughbred Directive 4- 2019 – Revisions to Urging Provisions. Commencing October 18, 2019, the new Directive will:
- limit urging in Thoroughbred racing to underhand use of the crop only
- allow no contact with the horse with the crop in the cocked position
- prohibit any hits to the horse’s belly or surrounding area,
At this time, these revisions will apply to Thoroughbred racing only (excluding Quarter Horse); amendments to the rules for urging in Standardbred racing were introduced earlier this year.
A phased approach to implementation will be used where a “test period” will commence at Woodbine Racetrack. Following the end of the Woodbine race meet on December 15, 2019, the AGCO will evaluate the effects of this change to determine if further revisions are necessary prior to full roll out at Woodbine and Fort Erie Racetracks for the start of the 2020 meet. At this time, no changes are being made to the penalty guidelines.
Over the past several months, AGCO staff have met with key executive representatives from Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG), the Jockey’s Benevolent Association of Canada (JBAC) and the Horseperson’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) to discuss and build consensus on how best to amend these rules. This dialogue will continue throughout the remainder of the Woodbine race meet and will inform the AGCO’s evaluation.
In order to facilitate the transition to the new rules, training materials and orientation sessions will be provided to participants and Race Officials. Special paddock meetings will be held for jockeys as they adjust their riding style to meet the new requirements.
For a complete description of the rule changes please see Thoroughbred Directive No. 4- 2019 - Revision to Urging Rules.