Other fit-for-duty assessments that do not require the collection of a biological sample will be used instead.

March 13, 2020

The AGCO is actively reviewing Ontario’s horse racing rules and regulations to ensure responsible measures are taken to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

On racing days, racetrack or AGCO staff administer breathalyzer tests to measure blood alcohol levels in certain horseracing participants in “safety sensitive” positions, including drivers, jockeys, valets, and track maintenance personnel. However, the collection of a breath sample creates a potential risk for disease transmission since it requires the sharing of a biological sample.

As a result, effective today, the AGCO is temporarily suspending the rules requiring that a breathalyzer test be administered. Racetrack and AGCO officials will instead rely on a fit-for-duty assessment that does not require the collection of a biological sample.

Required horseracing participants must still report to the Paddock Judges or Clerk of the Scales. They will be assessed using questions and observations for signs of impairments. Anyone showing potential signs of impairment will be referred to Race Officials. The Race Officials have the ultimate authority to allow or deny the individual’s participation.

The AGCO will continue to monitor the situation to determine how long this measure will be in effect. The regulator is also consulting with public health officials as well as other racing jurisdictions to inform any additional actions.

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