Starting August 15, 2011, testing for clenbuterol in Ontario Quarter Horse racing is expanding to include a 30 day withdrawal period and lower threshold levels. This expansion by the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) will complement the existing efforts of the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency (CPMA), which has included clenbuterol in its testing protocol for over 20 years. This new initiative is a result of concerns brought forward by the Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. regarding alleged misuse of this therapeutic drug and the health and safety of the horse.

On June 16th, the ORC announced the first phase of this project involving random out-of competition testing for the presence of the drug. ORC investigators will continue to enquire as to the use of clenbuterol and then examine the records of the trainer and veterinarian. Under this new phase, a 30 day clenbuterol withdrawal period for a horse competing in a race and minimum threshold levels have been established – 200pg/ml or less in urine and
1 – 2 pg/ml in blood. The goal of the initiative is to eliminate any abuse, over-use, or nontherapeutic use of this drug, and when used, confirm that the drug has been legally obtained and correctly administered.

A Directive authorizing this phase of the project is currently under development, but it is anticipated that the regulatory action for confirmed presence of clenbuterol will include:

• Disqualification of the horse from the race;
• Return and redistribution of all earnings from that race;
• Horse made ineligible to race until:
– owner produces a negative test result; and
– the ORC investigation is complete.