By Press Release
The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) announced that it will begin working with the horse racing industry to develop a practical and appropriate response to the testing for cobalt.
The ORC plans to move in a timely manner through its existing Out-of-Competition Testing (OCT) Program. It is noted that the addition of a cobalt threshold would be communicated to the industry prior to implementation.
The following steps will be undertaken:
– consultation with the horse racing industry;
– a new (or revised) Rule which would need to be approved by the ORC Board;
– determination of a threshold in coordination with the CPMA;
– a penalty guideline based on some classification of cobalt (e.g. Class III substance).
The ORC believes that the testing for cobalt should be addressed on an urgent basis. It is not only a matter related to the integrity of horse racing but more importantly an animal welfare issue. When administered in appropriate quantities, there is likely very little performance benefit to cobalt. And when used in excess, this element can be toxic to horses.
On February 16, 2015, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) issued a Memorandum to provincial regulatory bodies and industry groups regarding its plans for the testing of cobalt. The memo noted that a threshold of 100ng/ml in urine has been proposed by several international jurisdictions, and in the United States, some have implemented thresholds between 25 and 70ng/ml in blood.
On March 19, 2015, Association of Racing Commissioners International (RCI) President Ed Martin indicated that he expected regulators would set a uniform approach on cobalt when they meet in Tampa, Florida, at meetings held April 21-23, 2015.