Toronto, ON – From London, Ontario to London, England, from the Thoroughbred Melbourne Cup to the Standardbred North American 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.
Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.
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.
From Rob McKinney, Deputy Director ORC