July 24, 2015 - The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) issued a Notice to the Industry on June 3, 2015 advising that Ontario will begin testing for cobalt with a threshold of 50ng/ml in blood, as of August 1, 2015.
Racing participants are reminded that all horses that have been selected to provide an Official Sample (blood), as defined by the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), will also be tested for cobalt. Once the CPMA has completed the official testing, the ORC will subject the sample to enhanced testing for the presence of cobalt.
On July 17, 2015, Steve Suttie, Executive Director of the CPMA, wrote to ORC CEO and Executive Director Jean Major. The letter summarized the CPMA’s continuing research on cobalt and provides additional information to help racing participants make informed decisions on the use of cobalt in race horses. A copy of the letter is attached to this Notice.
The ORC will also be implementing a policy which allows for trainers and owners to have a claimed horse post-race tested for cobalt at their own expense. If you wish to have a horse tested that you have claimed, please note that on the Official Claim Form
Please note that if a claimed horse is found to have unacceptable levels of cobalt during an approved post-race test, the Judges/Stewards have the authority, at the option of the claimant, to rule a claim invalid.
The ORC believes that cobalt testing 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.