Overview

Any individual or business actively involved in horse racing must be licensed by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) in order to participate in racing in the province. This includes owners of race horses, trainers, drivers and jockeys, grooms, anyone requiring access to the backstretch or paddock of the racetrack, pari-mutuel clerks and management staff of the racetrack. The business that operates the racetrack must also be licensed and must apply to license any off-track sites, otherwise known as teletheatres.

Horse racing licences are issued through the office of the Registrar. In assessing the suitability for licensing, issues of honesty and integrity are considered.

Licensing Process

Effective March 2, 2020 all transactions with the AGCO must be completed online through iAGCO. Paper applications are no longer accepted for horse racing-related licenses and registrations. For more information, visit the iAGCO Guide for Horse Racing. Please make sure the AGCO always has your current mailing address by calling Customer Service Monday - Friday 8:30 am - 5:00 pm at 1-800-522-2876 or by updating your iAGCO online account.

Use of iAGCO Online Services for Horse Racing Licensing

To participate in racing in Ontario, licensees must:

  • Ensure they hold a valid licence
  • Know their AGCO licence number so their licence status can be verified in iAGCO
  • Be prepared to provide government photo identification to verify their identity

With the launch of iAGCO services, the AGCO no longer issues AGCO horse racing licence cards (licensee photo identification cards) or validation stickers.

Licensees are not required to print their licence and carry it with them, provided they have government identification and know their licence number.

Licensees who wish to access their licence certificate or wallet-size cut out online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO must first create an iAGCO account. For more information, please see the iAGCO Tutorial: How to create an account at www.agco.ca/videos-and-webinars

What do I need to complete the licence application process?

  • Personal details and information to complete the application, including birthdate, address, email address and emergency contact information.
  • Certain categories of licence may require the submission of additional documentation or certification (see the Thoroughbred - Individual Licensing page for more information)

Licensing fees

A new licensee can expect to undergo a due diligence investigation to determine their suitability for licensing.  The total fee amounts for a licence will vary depending upon the category(s) being applied for. For more information on licensing fees see: Horse Racing Licensing Fees page.

Renewals

Licences issued to individuals participating in Thoroughbred racing in Ontario expire on their birthday, and must be renewed online through the iAGCO portal for either one or two years. Licences which have expired within 5 years are considered to be renewals, not new licences. Renewals must be completed online through the iAGCO portal. Licensees are reminded it is their responsibility to have their licence renewed in good standing. With the launch of iAGCO, licensees can look up their licence status, along with the month and year of expiry.

PLEASE NOTE:

As per the blog post AGCO will extend the term of your active licence, authorization and/or registration released on March 18, 2020, all horseperson licences will be extended for one year, to reflect the fact that those licences renew on an individual’s actual birth date. Also, given the seasonal nature of horse racing, horse person licences that have expired within the last six months will also be renewed for one year, subject to any rulings or other regulatory requirements.

Change of Address

A licensee must provide written notification, online through the iAGCO portal or by calling Customer Service, of any change in permanent address within five (5) days of any change.

Claiming Certificate

To claim a Thoroughbred racehorse in Ontario, an individual must be an active licensee, or hold a valid and current AGCO owner licence and have started a racehorse during the current racing season. An individual not meeting these requirements should apply for a Claiming Certificate.

A Claiming Certificate can be used at any time during the Thoroughbred racing season, except for the first and last 30 days of the meet. An individual should apply for the Claiming Certificate online on the iAGCO portal. For additional information, please refer to Rule 12.29 of the Rules of Thoroughbred Racing.

Lessors and Lessees

When a horse is programmed to race under a Lessee Owner, the owner of the horse, as well as the person or entity leasing the horse, must be licensed. Any individual leasing a horse for racing must be identified as the lessee on the horse’s registration papers.

Registration of Colours

In Thoroughbred racing, the colours worn by the jockey help the betting public identify the horses during the race. The colours, also known as silks, refer to the unique combination of colours on the jacket and cap worn by the jockey.

Each owner, or multiple ownership (stable name, corporation, partnership), is required to register their own unique set of colours and, once they are approved, have the jacket and cap made to be used by the jockey when their horse races. Colours are registered in the Colours Registry which currently holds over 3,000 sets of colours.

Colours can be renewed annually, or owners can choose to register their colours as lifetime colours. 

For more information, see Changes to the Registration of Racing Colours and Temporary Waiver of Fees for the Registration of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse Racing Colours.

Who can I contact if I have questions or require assistance?

Questions about licensing or requests for assistance can be directed to the AGCO Customer Service during office hours (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)

Questions can also be directed to the AGCO Horse Racing Licensing Agents at operating racetracks during hours of operation or by emailing racinglicensing@agco.ca

Definitions of Licensing Status

In Good Standing

  • There are no outstanding issues regarding the licensee.

Suspended

  • The licence is no longer valid for a specific length of time. If the suspension is longer than the expiry date of the licence, the licensee must reapply to be licensed when the suspension is finished.

Revoked

  • The licence is no longer valid and the individual cannot reapply to the AGCO for a licence for 2 years from the date of revocation.

Refused

  • The application to become a licensee is not granted. The individual cannot reapply for a licence until 2 years from the date of refusal.

Note that a horse will be ineligible to race when:

  • An owner, stable or estate does not have a valid licence;
  • A temporary licence has expired; or
  • A reciprocal licensee has not supplied proof of a valid licence from a recognized racing jurisdiction.

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