As part of its continued commitment to protect Ontario’s racehorses and enhance the integrity of racing, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has made the following changes within the Rules of Racing to promote the welfare of equine athletes.
Please see the changes to the Thoroughbred and Standardbred Rules of Racing below.
Effective Date: June 5, 2023
Update: While the effective date for this new requirement is June 5, 2023, there will be a transition period until January 1, 2024 where the AGCO will limit out of competition testing activities to only those horses requiring a Workout or Qualifier to come off the Veterinarian’s List. During this time, the AGCO will conduct additional engagement and provide further communication to horse racing licensees to ensure greater clarity regarding the new rules. However, licensees are reminded that all rules of the Out of Competition Program, Chapter 39 of the Thoroughbred Rules of Racing and Chapter 37 of the Standardbred Rules of Racing, still apply and the AGCO can conduct out of competition testing at any time.
What is changing: Certain medications and substances will now be restricted in horses participating in an Official Workout (Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse) or in a Qualifying Race (Standardbred). Horses may be tested for any substance that is a corticosteroid, analgesic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, or local anaesthetic including, but not limited to, substances that the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) has listed in the Elimination Guidelines. This change is aligned with a continued focus on equine welfare, ensuring that only healthy, unmedicated horses are fit to qualify and work out.
What to expect: To minimize disruption to racing, horses will be eligible to be entered and to race unless or until adverse test results are received. Testing will focus on horses with a risk of injury such as, but not limited to, those coming off the Veterinarian’s List. Horses that test positive will be disqualified and will have to re-qualify to be eligible to race.
A horse requiring a workout or qualifier to come off the Veterinarian’s List, that has tested positive, will be disqualified and be placed back on the Veterinarian’s List for the same amount of required days, before again becoming eligible to come off the list.
Additionally, Trainers and/or Licensed Veterinarians may be subject to penalties, including monetary penalties or suspensions. Positive cases will be treated as conduct violations, taking into consideration the penalty guidelines for positive tests (Policy Directive No. 1-2018).
The new rule prohibits all medications that have a CPMA Elimination Guideline that are categorized by CPMA as an Analgesic, Corticosteroid, Anti-inflammatory, Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID), or Local Anesthetic. Additionally, substances that also belong to these classes of drugs that do not have an Elimination Guideline, that are also prohibited from occurring in official (CPMA) samples, may be tested at CPMA specifications. Consult with your AGCO licensed veterinarian when considering whether to administer medications.
For horses working or qualifying off the Veterinarian’s List, a screening limit of 25ng/mL for procaine penicillin will be used, which aligns with the CPMA classification. (CPMA Elimination Guidelines 2020 – Explanatory Notes)
From time-to-time, CPMA makes changes to their Schedule of Drugs and Elimination Guidelines. It is the trainer/owner/veterinarian’s responsibility to keep informed of any changes. (Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency Equine Drug Control Program - agriculture.canada.ca)
A drug that relieves pain.
A drug that relieves local swelling, redness and pain caused by an injury or infection.
A drug producing reduced sensations (e.g., touch, pain) in a restricted area of the body.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
A drug producing an action similar to that of a steroid hormone of the adrenal cortex, but which is chemically distinguishable from natural hormones.
New rules are being added in Chapter 15: Misconduct, Needles, Syringes and Searches, of the Thoroughbred Rules of Racing stating:
New rules are being added in Chapter 6: Violations, Penalties and Expulsions, of the Standardbred Rules of Racing stating:
Additional changes will be made to the Thoroughbred Rules of Racing and the following rules will be amended to include a reference to the new rules where necessary.
There will be a revision to Chapter 15: Misconduct, Needles, Syringes and Searches, of the Thoroughbred Rules of Racing stating:
15.06.03 Notwithstanding 15.06.01, the Registrar and all delegated officials shall consider the following to be absolute liability violations:
There will be a revision to Chapter 27: Commission Veterinarians, Official Veterinarians and Other Veterinarians, of the Thoroughbred Rules of Racing, stating:
27.17 A veterinarian may be held wholly or partially responsible if any drug, substance or medication administered or prescribed by him or her is a cause for:
and, if held wholly or partially responsible, may be subject to a monetary penalty and/or suspension.
There will also be changes to the Standardbred Rules of Racing as a result of the new rules. The following rules have been amended to include a reference to the new rules where necessary.
There will be revisions to Chapter 8: Commission Veterinarians, Official Veterinarians and Other Veterinarians, of the Standardbred Rules of Racing, stating:
8.11 A veterinarian may be held wholly or partially responsible if any drug, substance or medication administered or prescribed by him/her results in:
and, if held wholly or partially responsible, may be assessed a monetary penalty and/or suspended by the Judges.
There will be a revision to Chapter 26: Trainers and Grooms, of the Standardbred Rules of Racing, stating:
26.02.03 Notwithstanding 26.02.01, the Commission and all delegated officials shall consider the following to be absolute liability violations: