Industry Notice – Thoroughbred Claiming Rules Now in Effect

Horse Racing

As a reminder, the expansion of claiming rules in the Thoroughbred (and Quarter Horse) Rules of Racing is now in effect. The changes allow a claim to be invalidated in certain circumstances following a claiming race. Expanding these rules is part of a continued effort to help ensure the highest standards of health, safety, and accountability across the horse racing industry in Ontario.  

Effective Date: July 4th, 2024  

Please see the changes to the Thoroughbred Rules of Racing below.  

Summary of Changes

  • Addition of an Observation Period following a claiming race where a racehorse will be observed by an Official or Commission Veterinarian at the claimant’s request.
  • Claimants should notify Officials that they want their horse observed and follow the process for the Observation Period as outlined in each track’s individual track rules.    
  • The original owner (or their representative) is responsible for taking the horse to the observation area and staying for the duration of the observation.  
  • If during the Observation Period, a horse is placed on the Veterinarian’s List, is seen bleeding from the nostrils, requires euthanasia due to an injury, or dies, the claimant will have the option to ask the Race Officials to invalidate the claim.
  • Only if a claim is invalidated by the Race Officials, the ownership of the horse returns to the original owner.

For any questions regarding changes to the claiming rule expansions, please see the Race Day Contact List.

Background Information  

Industry Notice – AGCO Expands Claiming Rules to Provide Further Protection of Racehorses and Industry

Industry Notice – AGCO Provides Clarification for Thoroughbred Claiming Rules Expansion

Thoroughbred Rules of Racing

Rules amended in Chapter 12: Claiming Races, of the Thoroughbred Rules of Racing, (also applies to Quarter Horse) stating:

TB Chapter 2: Definitions

Observation Period means the time of observation, conducted by a Commission Veterinarian or Official Veterinarian, which may include a physical examination after a claiming race.

TB R.  12.32.01 The Stewards shall rule a claim invalid, if:

  1. At the option of the claimant, approved post-race testing procedures discloses that an improper medication or drug was found to be present in the sample of the claimed horse which is reported in the analysis report from the lab. Once the claim has been declared invalid by the Stewards the claimant must request within 72 hours that the horse be returned to the original owner;
  2. At the option of the claimant, if the horse has been found ineligible to the event from which it was claimed;
  3. The horse dies on the racetrack; or
  4. The horse suffers an injury which requires euthanasia while on the racetrack as determined by either a Commission Veterinarian or an Official Veterinarian.
  5. At the option of the claimant, if before the end of the Observation Period:  
    1. The Commission Veterinarian or Official Veterinarian places the horse on the Veterinarian's List;
    2. The Commission Veterinarian or Official Veterinarian observes the horse is bleeding from the nostrils;  
    3. The Commission Veterinarian or Official Veterinarian determines the horse has suffered an injury which requires euthanasia; or
    4. The horse dies.  

TB R.  12.33 Claimants may choose to have the horse observed by an Official Veterinarian or Commission Veterinarian. A claimant or their representative must confirm with the Stewards or such other Official as set out in the track rules by phone that a horse will be observed prior to the horse being transferred to the claimant. If the claimant chooses to waive the Observation Period, Rule 12.32.01(e) shall no longer apply.     

TB R.  12.33.01 With respect to the Observation Period, the claimed horse claimant or their representative shall be taken proceed directly and without delay, to the designated observation area; failure to do so comply may result in the following 

  1. The Observation Period being waived, and or    
  2. The claim not being invalidated, and/or
  3. Such other action, as determined by the Stewards.  

TB R.  12.33.02 The observation shall take place as close to one hour after the race as practical.  

TB R.  12.33.03 Except in the case of an emergency, no horse shall receive treatment before the end of the Observation Period and any such treatment shall be reported to the Stewards as soon as practical.

TB R.  12.33.04 The Association shall create a process for the Observation Period referred to in Rule 12.32.01(e), which must be outlined in an Association’s track rules.

TB R. 12.34 When the Stewards rule that a claim is invalid: and the horse is returned to the original owner:  

  1. The amount of the claiming price shall be repaid to the claimant;  
  2. Any purse monies earned subsequent to the date of the claim and before the date on which the claim is ruled invalid shall be the property of the claimant;  
  3. The claimant shall be responsible for any reasonable costs incurred through the care, training or racing of the horse while it was in his or her possession; and  
  4. The horse shall be returned to the original owner in the same material condition.

Further additions to existing rules in Chapter 12: Claiming Races, of the Thoroughbred  Rules of Racing, (also applies to Quarter Horse) stating:

TB R. 12.13  Except when a horse is sent for observation pursuant to Rule 12.33, in which case physical custody remains with the original owner until the Observation Period has ended, transfer of possession of a claimed horse shall take place in the claiming barn or designated area immediately after the running of said race, unless the horse is required to be taken to either the retention test barn and/or TCO2 test barn for post-race testing. The successful claimant or their representative shall maintain physical custody of the claimed horse. Transfer of possession of each claimed horse will take place after sample tags have been signed by the previous trainer and/or their representative.

TB 12.18.01  Subject to Rule 12.16, title to a claimed horse shall vest in the successful claimant from the time the stall doors of the starting gate open in front of such horse at the time the Starter dispatches the horses in a valid start for the claiming race. The successful claimant shall take possession of the claimed horse according to the Rules whether said horse is sound or unsound, or injured during or after the race, unless the horse is invalidated in accordance with Rule 12.32.01 and any related track rules.