The ORC regulates a number of different testing programs to ensure the fair and safe operation of racing in Ontario.
Each day of live racing, the judges, racing officials, trainers, drivers and jockeys are required to submit to a breath analysis test for blood alcohol levels. Any readings over the accepted limits are reported to the judges for action and any participant programmed to ride or drive will be relieved of their duties. Any person refusing to submit to the test will also be relieved of their duties. The program is in place to ensure a safe racing environment for all participants.
Random Drug Testing
The ORC conducts random drug testing of drivers, jockeys, trainers, grooms, paddock judges and starting gate personnel. Those licensees, chosen at random, are required to submit a urine sample to be tested. A positive test will result in the individual being suspended until such time as they are able to provide a negative sample. Repeated offences are dealt with in a progressive penalty system. Reference: SB Rule 6.38 and TB Rule 15.24. The program is in place to ensure a safe racing environment for all participants.
EIPH or Exercise Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage is the condition of bleeding (haemorrhage) from blood vessels within the lung (pulmonary) which occurs during strenuous exercise. The condition is felt to be controlled through the medical application of furosemide, which has the effect of lowering the blood pressure and controlling the condition. The ORC has managed a controlled EIPH Program in Ontario since 1991 for both thoroughbred and standardbred racing at participating racetracks. Under strict guidelines horses are allowed to enter the program and publication of their inclusion in the program is included in the race program for the information of the general public.
Thoroughbred EIPH Program
Thoroughbred Lasix List
Thoroughbred Qualified Lasix Program
Thoroughbred Bleeders List
Standardbred EIPH Program
A complete electronic list is not available at this time
EPO Antibody Testing Program
Horses racing in Ontario are tested for Erythropeietin (commonly known as EPO) and darbepoetin (DAR) antibodies. Horses testing positive are removed from racing. EPO triggers the horse's body to produce more red blood cells and is thought to improve performance by increasing the blood's oxygen carrying capacity. Regulators around the world have been working to eliminate the use of the drug because of its potential effects on performance and its detrimental impact on the health of the animal.
Visit Regulatory Initiatives - EPO Program for more information.
An excess level of total carbon dioxide (TCO2) in a racehorse is felt to be adverse to the interests of the horse. While sometimes referred to as “milkshaking,” carbon loading is felt to enhance performance by removing lactic acid from a horse's system which would otherwise cause the animal to tire towards the end of the race. In 1992, the ORC established rules to allow for the testing for bicarbonate on a track by track basis as available. In 1999, the ORC implemented a province wide testing program for TCO2.
All horses racing in Ontario are tested for TCO2. Any positive reading is dealt with as a Class III positive test. In circumstances where an owner or trainer feels that a high reading is normal for their horse, processes are available to have the horse placed in quarantine at the owner's expense to make a determination.
Since the province-wide program began in 1999 to December 2003, over 100,000 tests have been conducted on racehorses and 44 horses have tested positive.