On June 1, 2021, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will implement the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency’s (CPMA) decision to lower the thresholds for total carbon dioxide (TCO2).
The AGCO will lower the thresholds for TCO2 from 37mmol/L to 36mmol/L, and from 39mmol/L to 38mmol/L for horses registered in the Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH) program.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) occurs naturally in the blood of horses at varying concentrations. This natural level can be anywhere from 26/27mmol/l to 31/32mmol/l.
An elevated TCO2 level is an indicator of the use of alkalizing agents, which may compromise the welfare of the horse when provided in excess, and the integrity of racing by artificially enhancing a horse’s performance.
Lowering thresholds will help to enhance horse welfare, improve public perception, and uphold the integrity in racing.
In addition to lowering thresholds, the AGCO is updating the impacted Rules to enhance the effectiveness of the TCO2 program and clarify that when a sample is not collected, the horse may be scratched at the discretion of the Racing Officials.
The Rules will also be updated to reflect the ban on race day medication, which prohibits the administration of medications, drugs and substances to any horse starting 24 hours prior to the post time of the first race of the day they are scheduled to race.
Revisions to the rules related to the above are outlined in the Information Bulletin – Revision to the Rules of Racing to Lower TCO2 Thresholds Starting June 1, 2021.