37.01 An excess level of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) in a race horse is deemed to be adverse to the best interests of horse racing, and adverse to the best interests of the horse in that such condition alters its normal physiological state. Accordingly, a person designated by an approved TCO2 laboratory may, subject to the Horse Racing Licence Act, 2015, obtain venous blood samples from the jugular vein of a horse for the purpose of the testing of said samples by that laboratory for TCO2 levels as outlined in Rule 37.06. Where the TCO2 level, based upon such testing equals or exceeds the following levels, the Stewards or Administration shall order the relief authorized pursuant to Rule 37.07:
- Thirty-seven (37) or more millimoles per litre of blood for horses not competing on furosemide; or
- Thirty-nine (39) or more millimoles per litre for those horses competing on furosemide at a track where the EIPH Program is offered.
37.02 Approved TCO2 Laboratory
In any part of Chapter 37, approved TCO2 laboratory means a laboratory approved by the Registrar under Rule 37.03, to conduct the testing of horses in accordance with Rule 37.06.
37.03 Laboratory Approval Process
The Registrar may approve a laboratory under Rule 37.02, if:
- The Registrar is satisfied that the laboratory employs competent staff, and has the necessary facilities and technical capability to conduct the testing of horses in accordance with Rule 37.06; and
- The laboratory conducts the testing of horses in accordance with Rule 37.06; and
- The laboratory undertakes to permit the Registrar or any person designated by the Registrar such access to its facilities and records, at any reasonable time selected by the Registrar or person, that will allow the Registrar or person to audit the laboratory operations for the purposes of determining its compliance with the requirements of Rule 37.03 (a) and (b).
37.04 Withdrawal of Approval
The Registrar may withdraw its approval under Rule 37.03 if the approved TCO2 laboratory, in the opinion of the Registrar, does not comply with the provisions of Rule 37.03 or 37.06.
37.05 Association Obligations
No Association may hold a race meeting unless the Association assures, at its sole cost and expense, that approved TCO2 laboratory personnel are present at the track, at the time of the race, who are ready, willing and able to conduct the collection of blood in horses in accordance with Rule 37.06.
Each Association is required to engage the approved TCO2 laboratory to obtain up to 24 samples per live race day over the period of the meet.
37.06 Testing Procedures
All horses that race are eligible to be selected by the Stewards for blood gas testing. The entry of a horse shall constitute permission for a person designated by the approved TC02 laboratory to obtain blood samples. To the extent that it is feasible, the owner, trainer or other person responsible for the horse will be given notice that the horse is to be tested and may be present when the blood sample is taken. Refusal by an owner, trainer or other person responsible for the horse to attend the taking of the sample will not affect the validity of the test. Any owner, trainer or other person responsible for the horse who refuses or fails to permit the taking of a sample from a horse shall have all applicable horses scratched by the Stewards or Administration. Such refusal shall be deemed an admission of a violation of Rule 37.01 empowering the Stewards or Administration to take any necessary action in accordance with the Rules. It shall be the responsibility of the trainer of a horse selected for post-race testing to see that the horse is taken directly to the testing barn or retention area immediately after being notified of the horse’s selection for testing.
Commission Stewards will select the horses to be tested and advise the approved TC02 laboratory personnel accordingly. Commission Stewards may also instruct the approved TC02 laboratory personnel to collect samples from every horse in selected races.
The approved TCO2 laboratory is responsible for:
- Collecting blood samples, by an authorized person (veterinarian, RVT- Registered Veterinary Technician or other person approved by the Registrar) from each selected horse into two plasma separator tubes;
- Collecting the samples within approximately 35 minutes immediately preceding the start of the race in which the selected horse is entered, or as directed by a Commission Steward. The Stewards may also direct the collection of the sample from a selected horse at least 90 minutes after a race in a secured area designated by the Stewards;
- Ensuring that the samples are centrifuged within approximately 20 minutes of collection and kept under refrigerated conditions until shipped;
- Shipping the samples to the laboratory in an insulated container;
- Analyzing the samples for TCO2 using a Beckman Synchron EL-ISE;
- Analyzing samples within 48 hours, or up to a maximum of 96 hours in exceptional circumstances, of collection and reporting all results to the Registrar and the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency.
Where the TCO2 level in a horse is determined to equal or exceed the levels set forth in Rule 37.01 above, the Stewards or Administration shall assess penalties in accordance with Policy Directive: Guidelines – Penalties for Equine Drug, TCO2 and Non-Therapeutic Drug Violations.
If the level of TCO2 is determined to equal or exceed those set forth in Rule 37.01 above, and the licensed owner or trainer of that horse contends in writing to the Stewards within three calendar days of notification of the results that such levels are physiologically normal for the particular horse, said licensee may request, in writing, that the horse be held in guarded quarantine. If quarantine is so requested, the track association shall make such guarded quarantine available, for a period of time to be determined by the Stewards but in no event less than 72 hours, at the sole expense of the licensee requesting same. During any quarantine, the horse shall be re-tested periodically and, although the horse may not race during such quarantine period, it may be exercised and trained at times prescribed by the track association and consistent with the ability to monitor the horse. The horse will only be fed hay, oats and water during the quarantine period. If the Stewards are satisfied, on the basis of the evident facts, the quarantine, and the testing of the horse’s blood during the quarantine period utilizing a Beckman Synchron EL-ISE, that the level of TCO2 set forth in Rule 37.01 above is physiologically normal for that particular horse, the Stewards shall not order the relief set forth in Rule 37.07 above and the horse shall be permitted to compete. In such case, the Stewards or staff of the Commission in their discretion may require that the horse re-establish that such TCO2 level is physiologically normal to it pursuant to the quarantine procedure set forth in this rule.