Ontario to Work on Out-of-Competition Cobalt Testing

The Ontario Racing Commission will work with the racing industry to develop a practical approach to cobalt testing.

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In a March 20 notice to the industry 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 commission noted that the addition of a cobalt threshold to its out-of-competition testing program would be communicated to the industry prior to implementation.

The ORC will take the following steps:

  • Consultation with the racing industry;
  • Creation of a new (or revised) rule which would need to be approved by the ORC Board;
  • Determination of a threshold in coordination with the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA); and
  • Implementation of 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," the notice said. "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

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