The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) has announced that trainer Brett Robinson has been issued an order for his license to be suspended for 10 years, and imposed a $10,000 fine, because his horse Fox Valley Tribal tested positive for EPO. The ORC issued a press release stating that Robinson's licence has been suspended following confirmation for the prohibited substance erythropoetin/darbepoetin-alfa.
On Aug. 30 the ORC Director ordered the immediate suspension of the license of driver/trainer/owner/authorized agent Robinson of Caledonia, Ont., and issued a proposed order to suspend his licence for a period of 10 years, and ordered a C$40,000 fine. The horse Fox Valley Tribal, owned by Antonio Chiaravalle, has been suspended from racing.
In July 2002, the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) issued a rule prohibiting the possession and use of Erythropoetin -- commonly known as EPO. The ORC reminded all licensees in April of 2006 that severe penalties would be imposed on anyone found to have acquired, be in possession of, or have administered an EPO, such as Aranesp®, to a horse. Aranesp (darbepoetin-alfa) is classed as a potent long-lasting form of EPO and poses a very serious danger to the health and welfare of a horse.
As part of ongoing medication control efforts, in May 2006, the ORC issued a Directive requiring all owners or trainers to make their horses available for a blood test at any time without prior notice. In June of 2007 this Directive was expanded to include all biological samples.
The ORC release added, "The ORC recognizes that the health and well being of the horse is of paramount concern to the horse racing community, and that by far the majority of those licensed in the industry conduct their business with professionalism and abide by the rules. Through its support of the industry-funded Equine Medication Control and Drug Task Force, that community is clearly behind the efforts of the ORC to reinforce the message that the acquisition, possession and administration of illegal and non-therapeutic drugs will not be tolerated.
"The vigilant commitment to a program of out of competition testing based on change of performance and/or reasonable cause will continue, supported by new advancements in testing technology. This pattern of testing, investigation, punishment and penalties also will continue. As stated numerous times in these Notices, the reputation of horse racing in Ontario and the financial stability of the industry are on the line."