May 22, 2015

CPMA To Test For Cobalt

On Monday, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency issued a statement regarding its position on the use of cobalt in racehorses.

Given the recent publicity surrounding cobalt, the purpose of this notice is to provide the racing industry with information with respect to the CPMA’s position on this substance.

Cobalt is a naturally occurring, trace element present in all horses at very low levels. It can also be found in several feedstuffs and supplements such as vitamin B12. The CPMA has not tested for cobalt since it is not listed in the Schedule of Drugs in the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations (the Regulations).

Horse racing regulators around the world are investigating allegations that large amounts of cobalt have been administered to racehorses in the belief that they will enhance performance by inducing the production of red blood cells.

As you may be aware, a threshold of 100ng/mL in urine has been proposed by several international regulators and, in the United States, several jurisdictions have implemented thresholds between 25 and 70 ng/mL in blood.

Recently, the CPMA has undertaken a number of research initiatives in regard to the use of cobalt in Canada. We have worked with Maxxam Analytics (our official laboratory), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and the University of Kentucky. The CPMA presented these research findings at the International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians late last year. The CPMA has also collaborated with other racing jurisdictions and has made considerable progress towards understanding the complexities in controlling the use of this naturally occurring substance.

Effective immediately, the CPMA will begin testing for elevated levels of cobalt in official samples collected at Canadian racetracks however Certificates of Positive Analysis will not be issued by the CPMA until the Regulations have been amended to include cobalt in the Schedule of Drugs. Results of this testing will be used to establish an appropriate threshold in Canada and data will be shared with Provincial Racing Commissions who may wish to initiate more immediate measures to address the use/misuse of this substance.

Cobalt levels may build up over time when given repeatedly and its elimination from the horse can take an extended period of time. As such, owners and trainers should govern themselves accordingly as, once the Regulations are amended, Certificates of Positive Analysis will be issued immediately based upon the established threshold.

At this time, there are no elimination guidelines for therapeutic doses of cobalt or veterinary approved forms of injectable cobalt. However, current knowledge would suggest that under no circumstances should supplementary oral cobalt be given within 48 hours of racing.

As with all medications and supplements, owners and trainers should discuss the use of cobalt supplements with their veterinarian.

Should you have any questions with respect to the contents of the memorandum, please contact the CPMA at 1-800-268-8835, or email at

Here is the full document from the CPMA:  20150216 – Memo to Industry – Cobalt EN FR


Pentafecta Model Rules Amended

On December 22, 2014, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) released a Memorandum to Provincial Regulatory bodies noting the ARCI Board approval of an amendment to the Model Rules for the Pentafecta. As the CPMA memo advises, this type of bet is now available to Canadian race-course associations.

A copy of this CPMA Memorandum can be viewed by clicking here.

The contents of the CPMA memorandum appear below.

On December 12, 2014, the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) Board of Directors adopted a proposal to amend the RCI Model Rules for the Pentafecta. Ad per section 143 of the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations, this type of bet is available to Canadian race-course associations.

The pool rule amendment, supported by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), allows the race-course association to request authorization to move Pentafecta carryover amounts amongst race meetings for which they are the pool host. This is limited to associations utilizing the ‘unique winning ticket’ option of the Pentafecta pool rules. This change will allow associations greater flexibility in building upon the popularity of this bet, and will offer bettors the greater opportunity to follow the Pentafecta’s jackpot pool.

The amending language to the Pentafecta pool rules will soon be available online at—standards.html.

Update On Ractopamine In Feed

On Monday, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) issued an update to the horse racing industry on recent findings of ractopamine in equine feed.

This memo is further to our notice to industry on February 14, 2014 on the subject of ractopamine in feedstuffs wherein we reminded race horse owners and trainers that it remains their responsibility to obtain horse feed and supplements that are free from substances that may trigger a positive test.

Since we issued that memo, there have been 27 additional positive drug tests for ractopamine in all racing jurisdictions in Canada except the Atlantic provinces with the majority coming from Alberta and Ontario.

The CPMA has initiated discussions with horseperson’s groups across the country to discuss ways of reducing the risk of positive ractopamine drug tests.

One suggestion is that horseperson’s groups take a proactive approach to assisting their membership locate feed facilities that do not produce feed containing ractopamine and having their feed manufacturers sign a letter of guarantee stating that they do not use ractopamine in the manufacturing of feed, store ractopamine on their premises or transport any mixed feed containing ractopamine.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been working with the swine and poultry sectors to develop a program that supports export to markets that require the CFIA to certify that products, exported from Canada, originate from stock that has never been fed and/or exposed to ractopamine hydrochloride. These Ractopamine-Free Certification Programs describe two types of commercial feed mills; Type A and Type B.

Type A mills are those that manufacture, handle and/or distribute only feeds that do not contain ractopamine. Type B mills manufacture, handle and/or distribute feed containing ractopamine and feed that does not contain ractopamine. Type B mills are required to implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) for the prevention of ractopamine cross contamination for feed being manufactured under this program. When these new Programs are published on the CFIA web-site, a list of commercial feed mills enrolled in these Programs will also be available. This list may be used to identify the Type A facilities in your area.

According to the CFIA’s Medication Sequencing Guideline for Management of Drug Carryover, feeds for horses may not directly follow feeds containing ractopamine. Horse feeds that contain ractopamine above the limit of detection are non-compliant. However, the current level of detection is fairly high so in some cases when the horse feed conforms with this allowable limit, the feed may contain enough ractopamine to cause a positive result in the CPMA’s drug testing program.

The following links to the CFlA website provide owners and trainers with information regarding ractopamine and feedstuffs:

Annex E: Canadian Food Inspection Agency Ractopamine-Free Pork Certification Program

Annex I: Canadian Ractopamine-Free Pork Certification Program

Medication Sequencing Guideline for Management of Drug Carryover

Should you have any questions with respect to the contents of the memorandum, please contact the
CPMA at 1-800-268-8835, or email at

To read this announcement in French, click the following link: Ractopamine Update


CPMA Adds Telmisartan to Schedule of Prohibited Drugs

On August 27, 2014, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) released a Memorandum to the Canadian racing industry and to Provincial Regulatory bodies advising that this drug has been added to Schedule of Prohibited Drugs.

To view a copy of this CPMA Memorandum, click on the link below.

CPMA Memorandum – August 27, 2014

ORC reports on revision to Pari-Mutuel Tax Reduction Allocations

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) is pleased to announce the approval of the revised allocations of the Pari-Mutuel Tax Reduction (PMTR) to support and encourage the horse racing industry in Ontario. This is in keeping with the ORC’s mandate to implement the components of
the 5-year Horse Racing Partnership Plan (HRPP), as approved by the Ontario government.

As a result of the approval by the Board of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association (OHRIA) and the subsequent approval by the Board of the ORC, a new structure setting out the allocation of funds from the Pari-Mutuel Tax Reduction will be implemented with the effective date retroactive to April 1, 2014.

By way of this Notice to Industry, ORC licensed racetracks will be required to direct funds as prescribed below.

Horse Improvement Program 3.0 %

Horse People 0.4 %
Customer Benefits 1.5 %
Racetracks 1.25 %
Regulatory Funding 0.75 %
Total PMTR 6.9 %

The ORC will work with affected industry stakeholders to account for amounts paid since April 1, 2014 pursuant to the prior allocation to ensure compliance with these revised rates.


CPMA – Compounded Medication

The compounding of drugs is an accepted veterinary practice and when properly prescribed, created and administered, they can be an appropriate and effective treatment for your horse.  Click here to read the CPMA release in its entirety.


CPMA: Drug Appearing in Feed

The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) issued a memorandum to the horse racing industry late Friday warning of the drug ractopamine appearing in feedstuffs.

The English text from the memo appears below.

SUBJECT: Ractopamine in Feedstuffs

This memo is with respect to several recent positive drug tests that may have been the result of prohibited substances in feedstuffs. This is a reminder to owners and trainers that it remains their responsibility to obtain horse feed and supplements that are free from substances that may trigger a positive test.

One of these prohibited substances is ractopamine, which is used to promote weight gain and feed efficiency and is licenced in Canada for use in beef cattle, pigs and turkeys.

Following several positive tests in Ontario, the Ontario Racing Commission undertook an investigation that found ractopamine in batches of horse feed. Similar findings were heard from Alberta and Quebec. Upon receipt of this information, CPMA initiated discussions with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) wherein it was determined that the CFIA has set allowable limits of ractopamine to be present in feed. However, even if horse feed passes these allowable limit tests, the feed may contain enough ractopamine to cause a positive result in the CPMA’s drug testing program.

CFlA also advised that it has a program for feed mills that minimizes the likelihood of ractopamine being found in feed for animals destined for international markets that do not allow any amounts of ractopamine in exported meat. The threat of an unintended positive test result to Canadian horsepeople may be minimized in several ways including but not limited to obtaining feed from manufacturers certifying that ractopamine is not used in feed produced at their facility.

It is suggested that owner and trainers make agreements with feed suppliers that their feed come from sources that minimize the risks of contamination. As mentioned at the outset of this memo, positive tests remain the owner’s/trainer’s responsibility.

Medicating ingredients permitted in Canadian feeds that may cause a positive test in the CPMA’s drug testing program include but are not necessarily limited to: ractopamine, zilpaterol, procaine penicillin and levamisole.

The following links to the CFlA website provide owners and trainers with information regarding ractopamine and feed stuffs.………

Should you have any questions with respect to the contents of the memorandum, please do not hesitate to contact Lydia Brooks, Manager, Research and Analysis (613-949-0745) or or Dr. Adam Chamber (905-648-3033) or

Steve Suttie
A/Executive Director | Directeur exécutif intérimaire
Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency | Agence canadienne du pari mutuel

(Standardbred Canada)

Pilot Project – Collection of Official Blood and TCO2 Samples

Notice to the Industry – Pilot Project combining collection of Official blood and TCO2 Samples

 The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) will launch a pilot project that will allow for the collection of Official (blood) samples at the same time as TCO2 samples. The pilot will take place at The Raceway at Western Fair District, commencing on November 15, 2013 and will run throughout the 2013/2014 racing season.

In this pilot project Official blood samples will be collected by the TCO2 Technician from selected horses in their paddock stall pre-race. The pilot has been designed to run in conjunction with the current CPMA drug control program consisting of post-race Official sample collections. This means that horses that are selected for pre-race Official sample collections may also be selected for post-race Official sample collection.  Click here for more information.


CPMA Changes Withdrawal Time On Anti-Inflammatory “Firocoxib”

The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA) has altered its guidleines concerning withdrawal times forthe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory called “Firocoxib”.

To read the complete Memorandum from CPMA, please Click Here.


CPMA: Current Medication Withdrawal Deadlines Not Affected

The Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA)has  issued the following memorandum to the Provincial Regulatory Bodies on Wednesday regarding the Racing Commissioners International (RCI) Medication Rules.

December 19, 2012

MEMORANDUM TO: Provincial Regulatory Bodies

SUBJECT: Modification to Racing Commissioners International Medication Rules

Racing Commissioners International (RCI) has recently announced preliminary approval for changes affecting the requirements for “Controlled Therapeutic Medications”, as newly-defined in the RCI Model Rules.

These changes intend to promote the adoption of uniform guidelines regarding the use of certain medications.

CPMA is a member of RCI, and sits on the Model Rules Committee. The CPMA supports efforts to harmonize rules affecting drug control, and will ensure that the Canadian approach to controlling the use of medications on race horses is informed by this RCI initiative.

However, the changes being developed to the RCI Model Rules (as posted by Standardbred Canada) do not affect the current CPMA withdrawal guidelines for any of the drugs listed, which remain  unchanged.

Should you have any further comment or questions, please contact Dr. Adam Chambers (905) 648-3033 or Lydia Brooks at (613) 949-0745.

(Standardbred Canada)