For the readers who follow me on social media, you may have seen my post yesterday about a horse I've known and followed for nearly a decade who, after a successful eight year racing career, I brought home from the track to start the next chapter of his life. Click here to see the post.
Needless to say, I am over the moon.
It is interesting, however, that I received a number of direct messages and emails regarding the fifth picture in my post. It's an image of the Sold as Retired from Racing form, and while it has been around for several years, it seemed there were a number of people well-versed in Thoroughbreds, both on and off the track, who were unfamiliar with it. Even the trainer I purchased the horse from – someone who was very concerned about wanting the horse to have a happy and healthy life after racing – was unfamiliar with the form and eager to learn about it.
The form, which can be found here, officially logs a horse with The Jockey Club, the official registry of North American Thoroughbreds, as retired from racing. The form should be completed and signed by both the buyer and the seller and notarized within 60 days of a horse's purchase and submitted to The Jockey Club, along with four color photographs of the horse (front, back and both sides) and the horse's Certificate of Foal Registration papers. Once received, the Foal Papers are stamped “Retired from Racing” and returned to the purchaser. This process serves to replace the Sold without Pedigree protocol previously used by The Jockey Club.
This information regarding a horse's official retirement from racing is then electronically disseminated by The Jockey Club to all North American racetracks to prevent the horse from racing in the future.
The Sold as Retired from Racing rule was added to the Principal Rules and Requirements of the American Stud Book in February of 2013, according to Rick Bailey, registrar for The Jockey Club.
“For a number of reasons, owners may not want a Thoroughbred to race again, but they do want the horse's offspring to remain eligible for Thoroughbred registration with The Jockey Club,” said Bailey. “The Sold as Retired from Racing rule was established with that in mind.”
Registering a horse as officially retired from racing has no impact on its breeding eligibility, nor does it prevent the horse from competing in any other disciplines. What it does do is to prevent a new owner, even if it is not the same owner who purchased the horse from the racing trainer and signed the Sold as Retired from Racing form, from putting the horse back in training and entering it in a race.
Case in point: One of the people who contacted me to inquire about the form told me the story of a young filly who was retired from racing and given to a young girl as a riding horse. As one can imagine, it was not a match made in heaven, as the filly was hot and the child was inexperienced.
Thinking the filly might make a good broodmare, the parents gave the horse to a racing acquaintance for his breeding program. Noting the filly's young age, the gentleman put her back in training. The filly's former trainer saw the horse he retired from racing entered in a race with new connections (who may not have been aware that his intention was for her to be retired from racing) and an argument ensued, with neither party having any tangible evidence (i.e. contracts or paperwork) to state their case.
“In addition to the horses, the process benefits owners, as they have the peace of mind of knowing that the horses they document with the Registry Office as retired will not race again. There is also a benefit in aftercare efforts,” said Bailey.
Carrie Brogden, who buys and sells Thoroughbreds for both racing and performance disciplines, says the Sold as Retired from Racing form is a good practice, but sorely underutilized.
“This form and non-racing registration…allows horses to be sold with their papers, which gives them more stability [in their second careers],” said Brogden.
A Thoroughbred's registration papers are akin to a person's birth certificate. For a variety of reasons, which were detailed in a recent article on the topic, it is in the best interest of a horse, no matter what its current or future vocation, to keep his identification documents with the current owner.
“We certainly think it's best that a Jockey Club certificate is transferred with a Thoroughbred during any sale transaction, as its purpose is as an identification document for that animal throughout its life,” said Bailey.
Since its inception in 2013, just 1,070 Thoroughbreds have been recorded as Sold as Retired from Racing. With the average foal crop between the years 2004 and 2014 being 31,288, that's less than 3 percent of likely eligible horses.
For more information on the Sold as Retired from Racing rule and to download the form as a PDF, click here.
Jen Roytz is a marketing, publicity and comprehensive communications specialist based in Lexington, Kentucky. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, her professional focus lies in the fields of Thoroughbred racing, health care, corporate and non-profit marketing. She holds board affiliations with the Make a Wish Foundation, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Retired Racehorse Project, among others. Apparently a fan of pairs, she is the go-to food source for two dogs, two cats and two off-track Thoroughbreds.
Email Jen your story ideas at [email protected] or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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