The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has recently announced it would be hosting a series of virtual info sessions concerning the implementation of new rules banning the use of certain medications for horses taking part in workouts or qualifiers. The rules will enter into force as of January 1, 2024.
The provincial agency regulating alcohol, lottery and gaming, horse racing, and cannabis retail sectors has provided a schedule for the information sessions that will be held on December 18, 2023, January 16, 2024, and January 31, 2024.
The primary purpose of the online consultations will be to provide information and guidance to trainers, licensed veterinarians, and owners on the new rules. The sessions will also address some frequently asked questions.
Besides the scheduled information sessions, the regulator has provided supplementary guidelines to clarify explicitly all details about the new rules. As of the beginning of 2024, horses taking part in Official Workouts and Qualifiers must not test positive for certain medications, including analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, local anesthetics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and corticosteroids.
The said medications can be applied to relieve pain associated with injuries. The newly introduced restrictions aim to promote the integrity of horse racing, protect horses, and ensure they participate in workouts and qualifiers only when they are physically fit.
All AGCO-licensed entities must be familiar with the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency’s Elimination Guidelines.
AGCO Suspends the License of Standardbred Trainer over Allegations of Compromising Equine Safety and Welfare
The AGCO has suspended the license of high-profile standardbred trainer Anthony Beaton for two years due to allegations of compromising equine safety and welfare. The regulator launched its investigation earlier in October, following information regarding the state of the horses.
As per the investigation findings, he has violated Rules 6.20(b) and 6.22 of Standardbred Racing. The first one concerns wrongdoings violating the principles of racing, and the second one pertains to acts of cruelty. According to the obtained information, he compromised the safety and welfare of a yearling by excessively using a whip. The trainer’s license has now been officially suspended until October 12, 2025.
He was allowed to appeal through the Horse Racing Appeal Panel (HRAP). Subsequently, he filed an application requesting a stay of his suspension, which was denied by Stanely Sadinsky, Chair of the HRAP.
Karin Schnarr, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar of the AGCO commented on the case, underlining the regulator’s commitment to upholding the highest standards in terms of animal welfare and training. She added that those who are directly engaged with the care and training of horses carry the biggest responsibility.
Up to the present moment, Ontario’s regulatory agency has suspended the licenses of nine horse trainers in 2023, varying in severity, from three days to three years.