Canadian Trainer Suspended 20 Years, Fined $100,000 For Non-Therapeutic Drug Positive - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Canadian Trainer Suspended 20 Years, Fined $100,000 For Non-Therapeutic Drug Positive

In order to protect the integrity of horse racing in Ontario, and to ensure the highest standards of equine and human health and safety, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) has suspended the license of Thoroughbred trainer, Robert Gerl of Palgrave, Ontario, for 20 years. The suspension takes effect May 30, 2022.

The AGCO has also issued Mr. Gerl a monetary penalty of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00).

The AGCO has taken these regulatory actions due to alleged infractions of the Rules of Thoroughbred Racing involving two horses (“ARAFAT” and “KOMUNIST”) trained by Mr. Gerl, which tested positive for ostarine (enobosarm), a non-therapeutic substance.

According to, ostarine is not FDA-approved but is often found in supplements, particularly those marketed for bodybuilding. It is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Ontario's Rules of Racing include clear restrictions on the use of prohibited drugs or substances for horses so as to protect the horses, jockeys and drivers, and uphold the integrity of the sport. The health and welfare of the racehorse and the integrity of racing is of paramount interest to the AGCO, and it will continue to hold those who fail to follow regulations accountable for their actions.

A licensed horse racing participant issued a Ruling under the Rules of Racing has the right to appeal the AGCO's action to the Horse Racing Appeal Panel (HRAP) which is an independent adjudicative body mandated to hear appeals of decisions.

“The health and welfare of racehorses, and the integrity of racing are of primary concern to the AGCO,” said chief executive officer and registrar Tom Mungham. “We will continue to take all appropriate actions to protect horses and maintain the fairness of racing. The administration of prohibited substances, especially non-therapeutic drugs, have no business in the sport, and positive test results can lead to severe consequences for licence holders.”

Thoroughbred horses “ARAFAT” and “KOMUNIST” participated in different races at Woodbine Racetrack in October 2021, and they finished second and fourth, respectively.

In line with its focus on promoting the integrity and public confidence in horse racing in Ontario, the AGCO selects horses competing in a race to provide a post-race sample (blood) for testing. “ARAFAT” and “KOMUNIST” were selected for testing after their respective races and they both tested positive for ostarine.  In addition to the post-race testing, Out of Competition testing was also conducted in October 2021, confirming the presence of the ostarine in one horse.

In addition to the suspension of the license and the monetary penalty, the AGCO has ordered that “ARAFAT” and “KOMUNIST” be declared unplaced in their races, and their order of finish changed. All purse monies associated with these horses on the affected race dates must therefore be returned for redistribution to other participants in those races. In addition, any horses owned or controlled in whole or in part by Mr. Gerl shall not be eligible to race in Ontario.

Gerl, who has trained horses since 2007, has won 65 races from 1,132 starts. He went went winless in 2020 and 2021, starting 25 horses each year. His most successful year was 2013 when he won 11 of 155 starts and had stable earnings of $507,710.

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