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Global Effort To Protect Integrity

Published: June 30, 2014 12:02 pm ET

Last Comment: June 30, 2014 9:29 pm ET | 5 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Monday, the Ontario Racing Commission announced the formation of a new international effort to share intelligence information across borders to protect the integrity of horse racing.

The following release issues more details on the formation of the International Racing Information and Intelligence Service (IRIIS).

From London, Ontario to London, England, from the thoroughbred Melbourne Cup to the standardbred North America Cup - horse racing is truly an international sport -- and one of the most regulated sports in the world. Equine athletes are tested more than most human athletes.

While Ontario has rigid standards locally, illegitimate operators have crossed jurisdictional borders easily through the internet and negatively impacted the fairness of the sport.

That will change significantly starting next month and it’s the same internet that will make it even tougher to ply their illegal trade.

The International Racing Information and Intelligence Service (IRIIS) will officially launch July 1st, and its origins started right here in Ontario. IRIIS is a secure internet platform that will allow international racing jurisdictions to share intelligence information, collaborate and capitalize on the industry’s expertise and best practices.

The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) and Harness Racing Australia, the key organizers of IRIIS, have collaborated with racing regulators and strategic partners from Canada, the United States, Belgium, Great Britain, South Africa, and Sweden. It is anticipated other racing jurisdictions will join and contribute to the platform.

ORC Deputy Director Rob McKinney said that IRIIS is an innovative system where members – industry regulators, law enforcement agencies and industry organizations -- will have access to and share intelligence information on a wide range of topics, such as performance and image enhancing drugs like EPO, race fixing, and organized crime. “We need to be proactive and one step ahead of illegal activity, so that we can prepare risk and threat assessments on a jurisdictional, regional and/or international level.”

Here’s a recent example of actionable intelligence which demonstrates how IRIIS works:

Ontario shared the intelligence it had gathered with respect to a particular drug and its alleged performance enhancing benefit. The ORC information included recommendations on how to collect a sample and analyze the results. The data prompted another international racing jurisdiction to conduct post-race tests for the same drug. The result: a positive test which led to regulatory action against the participant.

McKinney sees IRIIS as a tool to look to the future, not only of horse racing, but sports integrity in its entirety. He has long advocated for more sharing of intelligence information among all sporting entities.

“Our intelligence and information shows a connection between substances appearing in equine athletes and then in human athletes,” said McKinney. “This fact speaks to the value of sharing resources and building intelligence to ensure a high standard of integrity across all sports, international borders and jurisdictions. IRIIS has the potential to do that.”

In September 2012, the ORC signed an alliance agreement with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). The agreement formalized a relationship whereby both organizations would share information and resources of common interest to help build intelligence in the fight against unethical and illegal practices in Canadian sport.

“Fairness, equitable competition and the protection of the public interest are priorities embraced throughout the global sporting community. By sharing what we know with allied organizations, we can build a more effective force to break what we know as the cycle of abuse,” said McKinney.

The ORC, the agency responsible for the regulation of horse racing in the province of Ontario, has gained international recognition for its leadership role in developing new approaches to proactive investigation and regulation practices.


June 30, 2014 - 9:29 pmFirst thing they need to do

First thing they need to do is not allow shadow trainers of suspended trainers when everyone in the industry knows whose still running the show. The list is endless.

Secondly do not allow trainers who own horses and know they are getting suspended yet are still allowed to transfer them to one of their other owners. That said horse who is on the Ontario suspended list, then ships to the USA where the person who is suspended lists their assistant trainer as the new trainer and business goes on as usual. IT MAKES A MOCKERY OUT OF THE INDUSTRY !!

Until the ORC and the other governing racing commissions in the USA does something about that garbage that goes on, they can have all the secret websites they want and it doesn't mean anything to me as far as upholding the integrity of the sport.

June 30, 2014 - 6:45 pmGood Luck!!

Good Luck!!

June 30, 2014 - 5:33 pmGreat initiative. Longer

Ted Decker SAID...

Great initiative. Longer suspension times to the violators will be a deterrent. I totally agree with Mr Boyd. The suspensions today are very week and the fines even weaker. In order to get integrity back into the sport the regulators need to get stuff with everyone, and your last name should have no bearing on the outcome.

June 30, 2014 - 4:47 pmPlease forgive my cynicism.

murray brown SAID...

Please forgive my cynicism. It seems that all we do is form committees and tell people what we intend to do, yet nothing or next to nothing gets done. We run some miscreants out of one place and more often than not they surface in another. The talk is good, but some action would be a whole lot better.

June 30, 2014 - 12:19 pmI applaud the effort Fines

Bob Boyd SAID...

I applaud the effort
Fines are no deterrent
Need suspensions starting at months and progressing to years

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