Return to Racing: Additional Temporary Amendments to the Rules of Racing

Industry Notice – Return to Racing: Additional Temporary Amendments to the Rules of Racing

On May 20, 2020, the Registrar announced a number of Temporary Rule Amendments to address pre-racing activities associated with the return to racing. These amendments were based on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s (AGCO) active review of Ontario’s horse racing rules and regulations, and industry input, to ensure responsible measures are taken to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

As a result of these efforts, and pursuant to the Horse Racing Licence Act, 2015 and the Rules of Racing, the Registrar will temporarily amend a number of additional rules to accommodate the return to racing and ease industry burden, while also ensuring welfare for equine and human athletes and other racing participants.

The AGCO will closely monitor the impacts of these temporary changes to determine how long they should remain in effect and to ensure they are meeting their desired outcomes. The AGCO will be flexible if any of the measures identified require further amendment, in order to uphold the health and safety of horse racing participants and racehorses.

Standard for All Associations Regarding their Plans to Re-Open

Administration Directive No. 1 – 2020 Association Re-Opening Plan requires that each Association establish, implement, and maintain a COVID-19 pandemic re-opening plan, and that it be made available to the public. As part of this standard, Associations are required to submit their plans to the Registrar at least 2 business days prior to the anticipated site opening for live racing.   It also indicates that an Association may not open a site for live racing until the Registrar has provided the Association with approval to do so.

The COVID-19 pandemic re-opening plans should be sent to the AGCO by email to Tyler Durand at

Standardbred Rule Amendments:

See Understanding the AGCO’s Temporary Amendments to the Qualifying Rules for Standardbred Horses for more on information on the qualifying amendments announced on May 20.


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