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OTTB Owners - How much of your horse's history have you tracked down?

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  • #21
    You can pay the daily rate on Equibase ($5) and watch as many races as you would like. I generally get a few prospects together that I like and then sit down and watch all of the races. I look for things like if they were pulled up/eased, how many starts, racing style, did they start off great and then drop in class (big red flag), etc....


    • #22
      Here are two other good resources:
      http://www.retiredracehorsetraining.org Bloodline Brag (right hand button at the top of home page) has many TBs who have gone on to other careers (I put five TBs in). You can research your horse's sire and dam breeding for temperament, soundness and skills.
      Earlier this year, the Jockey Club started a database to let breeders and former owners know where their horses are. http://www.jockeyclub.com/mediaCenter.asp?story=490
      You have to sign up (free) to see the horses (many listed that need assistance)

      Just quick stories about two of the dozen TBs I've had.
      No Alibi was chosen off the track by legendary trainer (the late) Carl Knee for another client. That was many years ago when virtually every top show horse was TB. So I knew he was good...and I showed him to be AHSA (now USEF) national champion amateur-owner hunter in his first year of showing, while keeping at our farm. Back then, I was able to find a photo of his sire, Tudor Grey, a leading Canadian sire. Alibi looked just like him. What I never saw until last year was his racing record. He had raced mostly in Canada, and that wasn't on his Jockey Club papers. He raced until he was six...and ran 60 times! But because of his great bone and angles, he was never lame.
      Last year, my beloved TB had to be put down from an incurable illness. With an empty stall and dreary January weather, I quickly decided that he would want a rescue TB to have his beautiful farm. The TB rescue in Virginia didn't get back to me for a couple of days about the horse I liked online. So I tried craigslist. Nothing in Virginia, but in the eastern panhandle of WV was an ad for a TB "not to be missed." Fortunately, the young woman put his real name in the ad, "Fairest Riches." So I quickly found his breeding. Not only was he related to my horse that died through Rizzi, his sire. But he had the (nearly forgotten) Tudor breeding on his dam's side. He was 13 and had raced 50 times, winning $100,000. She and a friend had rescued him from a Civil War re-enactor, who had torn up his mouth and abused him. The woman, a Western rider, put him in side reins and a borrowed dressage saddle and walked and trotted him around her fenced lawn. It wasn't until afterward, when he stood, looking into the distance, that I saw the "Look of Eagles," that I gave her a deposit. She delivered him a week later, with a new winter blanket. He has an osselot on the left front but is more than sound. He has a wonderful eye, and is like a big dog, following me everywhere. We just have fun riding around the field. So for me, a horse's eye, bloodlines I know, and my instinct made the decision.
      Last edited by Tutt; Nov. 25, 2012, 02:06 PM. Reason: spelling


      • #23
        Thanks. I didn't know how to go about finding race pictures. I did have his race record so I knew about the wins (though if you were around him or rode him at all now, it's really hard to believe he ever raced, let alone WON).


        Originally posted by Xctrygirl View Post
        He won four times, twice at Beulah and twice at Thistledown. Call the tracks and ask for the track photographer. Have ready his race number and date of win. Also have a credit card to pay for the pics and shipping. Should be roughly $20 a pic.



        • #24
          Yeah, he'll be 12 this February and his races were some time ago. I wish I had video though - most people (and some days, even me!) don't believe he's a thoroughbred, let alone that he raced!

          Originally posted by big_red_ottb View Post
          Beulah also has live race replays going back a few years. Click Using the equibase info, you can find the days and race #'s and probably track down video of any races he had there. :-)

          ETAx2: Oh bah. Found his reg. name on your blog, and his last races at Beulah were in '06, and their videos only go back to Jan 1, 2007 :-(

          ETA: To access replays, go to "Live Racing" in the sidebar and then click race replays. Then navigate the calendar.

          Thistledown doesn't appear to have any videos.


          • #25
            My horse, Xcel, raced dead last at Charlestown on a Thursday night and was taken to the Marshall sale two days later where I bought him. I had a friend who raced there get me the tape of his race. He was dead last by a WHOLE LOT!

            Turned out his liver was toxic. Not sure what they had him on but he hadn't raced in a year because of foot problems. If I had known his history I might not have bought him and I would be a lesser person because of it.

            Still has messed up feet but is mostly sound now.

            Wouldn't trade him for anything ever!



            • #26
              My OTTB I wasn't able to find a whole heck of a lot on, other than his pedigree and race record. I did find a couple full siblings of his though. Rumor had it that he had been bought off the track for a 10 year old girl's first horse but was much too hot for that. Spent a few years at a hunter barn with that family, and then was sold at auction to a woman that wanted him for a trail horse, he was much too hot for that too, and I traded my tried and true trail horse for him. Well, he was much too hot for me and is now living on at a place where he gets turned out on 50 acres and can run til his heart is content. I do feel like I failed him in a lot of ways and wish I had moved him from the boarding situation I had him in to some place where he could have had a lot of turn out, but at the time my parents were paying for my horse habit, so I didn't have any say.

              http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/market+bluff sired by Pine Bluff who won the Preakness in '94.
              Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
              The Blog


              • #27
                Much easier these days to research your OTTB's history than it was when I purchased my 1st one 21 years ago. Because that 1st one was such a mess (physically and mentally) it was several years before I bought another one. I went back to the Arabians I'd had most of my life, but because I wanted to get serious about eventing I finally convinced myself that 1st TB was the exception, rather than the rule. I'd have to stop to think how many I've had since then, and they just keep getting better and better Unfortunately, I keep getting older

                Most recently I was able to get a win picture from 2007 for a friend. This is her 1st OTTB, and I just happened to know the track photographer who was there for his one, and only, win. One Christmas present solved
                "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George


                • #28
                  I bought my OTTB without researching his past race record, without even a PPE. I did go see him, and ride him. I paid $1000, and I had to have a horse to ride for the next month, to gather cattle out of their Forest Service pasture. As in, I HAD to have a horse for a month.
                  I took a gamble, I know, but this wasn't my first horse, or OTTB. If he had been lame, or unrideable when I got him home, I knew where he could go.

                  He was too thin by a ways, fed into submission, but he did great for that month of gathering.
                  Once I got some meat on his bones, he was...a handful. It took a LOT to get him reliable and safe as a ranch horse, more skills than I had. (I could have made him into a N, T eventer or a low-level hunter, riding him at a facility 4 or 5 times a week. Making a safe ranch horse to ride out alone was a different story.)
                  But learning the new skills were HUGE not just in terms of horse skills, but also with regards to cattle handling and life in general.

                  When I finally got his tattoo photographed and read, I researched him and watched videos. Fun! But the very best part was learning (through finding his brothers and sisters) that I met my OTTB when he was a month old. I fell in love with him then, amazing to buy him 5 owners down the line and have no idea.

                  I agree, the Jockey Club could make a ton of $$ with baby pictures.


                  • #29
                    I fell in love with my Thoroughbred, Number, when I volunteered for the Finger Lakes Trainer Listings with our Louise (here on COTH). I saw Nums out of the stall once. I visited him for over a year until he retired in December of 2008 at the age of 7 (nearly 8) with 67 starts. I was one of those who couldn't care a hoot if the horse was sound. I fell in love with the horse. It's kind of fun when you see that happen.

                    Nums was sound then and is sound now. He's a delight. He's small at 15.1 (maybe two) and bay and plain. He was skipped over with the listings service for these reasons. To know him is to love him though.

                    He's by Numerous, who, when I last checked was in France. Numerous had stood in South America also. I'd love to get a photo of Nums' dam, One Cent Over. She was bred by a large farm in Kentucky and I've sent them a note to inquire.

                    It's fun to track the history. My Nums was a professional in the racing industry...one of those horses that didn't win much but ran for his trainers well. He remains a polite and gentlemanly horse. I love him dearly.


                    • #30
                      After posting his story to the Three Chimneys farm page, his breeder contacted ME & we keep in touch. I got his whole story, foal pix, a newspaper article written about him, etc. Pretty awesome.


                      • Original Poster

                        So many cool stories! I love to hear about our horses with history

                        OMT, Thee Chimneys seems to be great about being a resource to help pair up new OTTB owners and their old breeders/trainers/connections, as well as being such a successful race barn. It's really neat!


                        • #32
                          I knew this gal had bowed her tendons, so I did some research into her past and found the race where she was vanned off. http://www.flickr.com/photos/90962480@N07/8263334264/ she's never been lame from the bows in the four years I've had her.

                          This little gal was involved in a bad wreck coming out of the gate during what ended up being her last race.....http://www.flickr.com/photos/90962480@N07/8263414538/ now in full work, never lame. Raced all up the east coast as a 2 and then 3 year old. I watched the wreck in the replays over and over, and still bought her

                          This fellow had the most starts out of the three, but they were spread out over time, he had a good owner who took very good care of him, retired sound with very clean legs. Only one we bought having actually seeing him in person, how could we resist that face?http://www.flickr.com/photos/90962480@N07/8262365687/
                          Had I not taken a chance on one with massive bows, or the one involved in the crash out of the gate, I would have missed out on two very lovely mares! And because we were so happy with the two gals,we were totally at ease when buying Jet.

                          editing to add, both Lexi (Silent Reflection) and Jet (Oughta Be A Jet) are Finger Lakes Finests and I wouldn't hesitate to buy from that track in the future.
                          Last edited by up-at-5; Dec. 11, 2012, 12:08 AM. Reason: adding short note
                          "Anti-intellect and marketing, pretty, pretty, who needs talent
                          Crying eyes, we're so outnumbered, fight for the right to remain silent" Buck 65


                          • #33
                            One caveat about assumptions made strictly from the race record. Sometimes a horse isn't racing because there are ownership disputes. From the limited amount of people I know on the track, I personally know of 3 different horses with 3 different owners/groups of owners, that had this as an issue. So I'd guess it is out there more often than you realize.
                            But he thought, "This procession has got to go on." So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the train that wasn't there at all. H.C.Anderson


                            • #34
                              Since a bunch of people have mentioned foal pictures, I thought I'd mention a potential avenue for finding early pictures of your horse.

                              If your horse sold through a big sale, there are often photographers at those sales. You can find your horse's sale record using this nifty bloodhorse tool:


                              Once you know if the horse went through a sale, you can find out if there was a photographer there and try to contact them (or even google. Some folks who take photos at keeneland have flickr accounts!)

                              Alternately, though this is not an exhaustive/complete effort by any means, there's this relatively new site:


                              You can search horses by sire/dam and sometimes you get lucky!
                              "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                              My CANTER blog.


                              • #35
                                My family has had two Thoroughbreds who could not be identified by their tattoo numbers- the JC has no record of them. Don't know if that means they were sold without papers and their records destroyed or what. Definitely TB and not STBs. It's a shame as the TIP program and Thoroughbred Hunter classes are gaining momentum here.

                                Not that either one of them was ever likely to have done much on the track. The little black horse probably did more spooking at the crowds than running, and the big gray horse doesn't gallop so much as he bops along like Pepe Le Pew. :P

                                I did get the track record on my Fuzzy Horse- rather his previous owner had it and passed it along to me when I bought him. He won three times in three years. One sort of wonders why they kept trying.
                                Last edited by Renn/aissance; Dec. 11, 2012, 11:29 AM.
                                "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                                Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                                Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.


                                • #36
                                  Mine is a son of Holy Bull, was born at Mt. Brilliant farm, and was sold at Keeneland as a yearling for $335,000. He never raced.

                                  I contacted Mt. Brilliant about him and they responded that they didn't really remember him because he didn't sell for that much money.

                                  Okey dokey "just" $335k...

                                  I apologize to him for not maintaining him in the lifestyle into which he was born.
                                  The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                  Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                  The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                                  • #37
                                    Need some help tracking this one down....

                                    Horse shopping with a friend of mine for her next horse. many trips and 3 failed PPEs. we head out on Sunday for a 5+ hr trip to look at a 2005 OTTB, 17H Dark Brown/Bay gelding. Asked all the good questions before we went so had what we thought was a pretty good history. Owner is a non-profit organization and horse was donated. People handing the sale are a mom and college age daughter who volunteer at the organization. Horse is really too big for their needs. Horse donated 2 yrs ago.

                                    Get down there and horse is great....needs some work but a solid and sound looking project horse that meets all my friends needs.

                                    I'm checking the horse out a bit more and went to look at his lip tatoo. First thing that catches me is that his teeth look well more than 7 y/o. I have a 7 y/o. Ask again about age and find out he was supposedly 7 when they got him two years ago, so his is really 9. OK, teeth still look aged for a coming 10 y/o but I can buy the mistake - owner of horse did not place ad, young lady helping them with the horse placed it so I can buy some miscommunication. But none of these folks are 'uneducated'.

                                    Friend wants to pursue PPE. I ask again about documentation to support horse's age and that we need to get a comfort level with age before going too far. Owner says she will pull out files from donation and provide my friend the next day.

                                    5+ hour drive home is pretty happy as we may have found a horse for my friend. But we discuss nagging feeling with the age. While the letter in the lip tattoo was faded, I think I have a pretty good idea of the first letter to verify age. Pull out iPhone and google a lip tattoo chart. If I am right, the horse is 24 or 26 years old!!!!

                                    Next morning friend calls owner and asks her to read the lip tattoo.....owner comes back with the same two letters that I thought it could be. Friend points out to owner that those letters make the horse 24 or 26. owner has pulled file and the Coggins has the lip tattoo noted, with the letter that makes the horse 26. But the Coggins says the horse is 7 yrs old.

                                    Friend says she is going to pass unless they can do something more to verify the age - like working with the Jockey Club to research the lip tattoo. Owner says they are going to go off what info they have - the person who donated the horse and the coggins both say 7 so that is what they believe him to be. So they updated the online ad to say the horse is now 8 y/o.....not even the 9 y/o the 2010 Coggins would make him!!!

                                    So we are now very curious about how old is this horse! I get online with the Jockey Club interactive site and go through all the letters with the numbers (numbers are still clearly visable). The interactive site only goes back 25 yrs. The numbers are 40608. we would think he was registered Dark Bay/Brown but I also kept Black as an option. don't know if his name is his registered name. here is the only options I found

                                    E = 2001 Dark Bay/Brown gelding = All Star Team
                                    F = 2002 Dark Bay/Brown gelding = Skookum
                                    Z = 1996 Dark Bay/Brown gelding = Surgeons Reward

                                    R = 1988 = Can't be 24 y/o as that was a mare

                                    I put an inquiry into the Jockey Club on P40608 but need pictures, etc for them to pursue.

                                    About as far as we are going to take it but thought I would post here in case someone more knowledgable about OTTB research has a suggestion of how to validate the 2001 and 2002 geldings above....i.e. link to website that would have pictures. My friend would probably reconsider the horse if he was the 2001 or 2002 horse above. So there is a legitimate reason for wanting to find out who this horse really is in life.

                                    Good news is that the horse is well cared for and looks in wonderful condition if he is indeed 26. Bad news is that they are still representing him as 8 yrs old which is impossible based upon my Jockey Club research. Someone uneducated about PPEs etc and assuming a non-profit would be more honest could buy this horse and not get what they thought they were getting.

                                    Any slueths out there?


                                    • #38
                                      Here's my old man - how's that for a race record?? I've been in touch with his breeder in TX, and obviously know his rather lengthy track history, but there is about a 3 year gap between when he left the track and arrived with his previous owner (who I acquired him from).

                                      He's a happy semi-pasture puff. I think he earned it
                                      "I'm not strange, weird, off, nor crazy. My reality is just different from yours."
                                      ~Lewis Carroll


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
                                        My family has had two Thoroughbreds who could not be identified by their tattoo numbers- the JC has no record of them. Don't know if that means they were sold without papers and their records destroyed or what. Definitely TB and not STBs. It's a shame as the TIP program and Thoroughbred Hunter classes are gaining momentum here.
                                        It could just mean the tattoo was badly done or misread. I've seen lots of 5's that look like 6's, and 3's that were actually 8's One I would SWEAR was a "36" but I had the horse's papers to refer to and it was actually "85"

                                        So you may want to play with the tattoo search thing, leaving out the numbers that could even possibly be wrong, and searching against markings.
                                        "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                                        My CANTER blog.


                                        • #40
                                          love that foaltrack site!! I went and looked my guy up, no photo, boo!

                                          I looked to see if they happened to take my gelding's dam back to the same stallion, as we would love another with his temperament, but, doesn't look like they did :-(