View Full Version : Need help w/tattoo id.

Sep. 10, 2009, 04:48 PM
When I purchased my TB, the previous owners told me his paperwork was messed up and he was raced as a one year old. They did not have his papers, and I've even tried searching and also calling the Jockey Club to get help finding the papers for this horse. They say the horse simply doesn't exist. His tattoo letter is an S, indicating that he was born in '89. He's getting older and I'd like to find out who he really is while I still have him. Does anyone have any suggestions for me on this? I've tried contacting the previous owners and they disappeared the day after I brought the horse home. Perhaps his tattoo is wrong? How do I find his papers if this is the case?

Sep. 10, 2009, 05:15 PM
I am only guessing of course but the most likely cause is you are reading the tattoo wrong. The chances of the tattoo itself being wrong are virtually zero as the identifiers check every whorl and white hair on the horse and if it doesn't match the papers or isn't on the papers they won't tattoo them until its corrected. TRPB was always a little more forthcoming with help in tattoo research back when it was a service you had to pay for. Not sure how that has changed if at all since it became free but you can try contacting them as well. That will help you find out who he is but chances are you will never be able to get the papers.

Sep. 10, 2009, 05:29 PM
What is the rest of his tattoo? Keep in mind numbers look very similar as the tattoo fades - a 1 can look like a 7 etc...

The Jockey Club now offers free tattoo identification services. They will also help you research a difficult to read tattoo. You will have to register but again, it's free.


Hope this helps you out...

ETA: Stupid question, but since the Jockey Club says the horse doesn't exist....are you positive the horse in question is a TB and not a Standardbred? Both are tattoo'ed to race.

Sep. 10, 2009, 05:32 PM
I would also try the free equineline search. You can search for a partial tattoo along with basic ID factors (color and white markings).

If the tattoo you think you have doesn't match anything, you can try taking out any numbers that you aren't 100% sure of and seeing what you get.

Sep. 10, 2009, 05:52 PM
Another possibility is that his registration was returned to the Jockey Club with the note that he was sold without pedigree.


More likely is that the tattoo is being read incorrectly or he's another breed.

Sep. 14, 2009, 11:17 AM
I've tried all those things so far, but thanks. Clearly this horse is a thoroughbred for those of you who doubt my competence. The jockey club is not very helpful either. The only numers that are in question are the first and last. The letter and other numbers are quite clear and that is what has been used to search. I guess it's a lost cause. I'm wondering what is technically considered a star...doesn't it have to be detatched from the stripe to be a real star? Some breeds have different rules on this.

Sep. 14, 2009, 01:07 PM
Clearly this horse is a thoroughbred for those of you who doubt my competence. Considering QH can be 7/8 TB and that TBs, Standardbreds, etc have common ancestors not so far away in the gene pool, not so much. People were trying to be helpful. No need to get snarky. As far as markings, here's the Jockey Club page so you can go straight to the source: https://www.registry.jockeyclub.com/registry.cfm?page=dotRegistryIdentifyThoroughbred They even illustrate it for you. https://www.registry.jockeyclub.com/registry.cfm?page=headmark&CFID=9498216&CFTOKEN=30579296

Sep. 14, 2009, 01:20 PM
Have you run all the likely variations on the numbers that are hard to read? Again, if he's a TB (and not a Standardbred or racing QH) the odds are pretty much nil that the tattoo is wrong (and I doubt very much those registries get it wrong, either). But if any of the tattoo is obscured chances are you're reading it incorrectly. They can be really, really hard to decipher. If the first and last numbers aren't clear, you should check all the variations that it could be and see if any match the color and gender. We KNEW our horse's identity and had his papers and it's a good thing because it took a LOT of work to finally read his tattoo, and he was only four when we bought him.

The story about racing as a yearling is rather weird, too. It would be very, very unusual, though not *totally* impossible, for his year of registration to be wrong and for his owners and trainer or whoever first backed him to not realize he was a yearling and not a two-year-old. Did you buy him from his racing owners, or had he been through a few different homes since the track? That sounds like a game of horse telephone, where the story's gotten a little garbled in being repeated to you.