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Ontario commission warns about oxygen-carrying substances

March 23, 2012

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The Ontario Racing Commission advises all members of the Ontario racing community to use caution when administering substances that may cause a positive test. In particular are those drugs which affect the oxygen-carrying ability of the hemoglobin molecule.

Severe penalties and sanctions will be imposed on trainers who possess, use or whose horses test positive for a range of substances that may influence the outcome of a race.

Advancements in testing technology are making it more difficult to escape the detection of these substances. The ORC has a long standing working partnership with the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency Drug Control Program. As well, the ORC's Out- of-Competition efforts continue to identify more and more illegal substances, thanks in part to the testing advancements at research labs.

As a result of this commitment, considerable progress has been made to detect and confirm substances such as:
Ziconatide (Cona snail toxin and other toxins and venoms)
Synthetic Cannabinoids
ITPP (and other agents of oxygen transfer enhancement)
GW 1516
Gene doping agents
The Rules of Racing (TB 15.04.04, SB 11.10.01) state that any horse with a positive for a Class I, II, III drug, or a substance determined to be non-therapeutic, shall be declared ineligible to race in Ontario for a period of 90 days. As well, under rule changes introduced in January 2008, a trainer of a horse with a positive test will be considered to have absolute liability for the offence.
"We need to identify the presence of these drugs in order to maintain the fairness of our sport,” said ORC Veterinarian Supervisor Dr. Bruce Duncan. "Conventional wisdom says drugs which may adversely affect the integrity of racing have no business being present in a horse that is actively competing.”
Through its efforts in investigation, research and education, the ORC is determined to discourage and break the cycle of substance abuse. It is hoped that beyond these sanctions within the Rules of Racing and the law, the horse racing community's groundswell of support will ensure that all competition is fair, equitable and by the rules. (ORC)
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