The Thoroughbred industry, owners and breeders can now report and look up microchip identification numbers through their Interactive Registration accounts, The Jockey Club announced March 3.The free service is the culmination of an initiative announced at The Jockey Club's "Round Table Conference" last August. In response to plans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a National Animal Identification System, The Jockey Club will maintain a central database of microchip numbers for Thoroughbreds. Matt Iuliano, vice president of registration services for The Jockey Club, said, "Micro-chipping will not be a requirement of registration. But when used in conjunction with current means of identification, such as markings, DNA parentage verification, color photos and lip tattoos, micro-chipping can provide additional confidence when identifying a Thoroughbred."
Only individuals with an active IR account can use the system. To report a microchip implanted into a Thoroughbred, the horse must have a "Live Foal Report" on file with the Registry. Several states already incorporate microchips to help monitor their horse industries. Louisiana has been micro-chipping horses since 1994. The California Horse Racing Board is developing a pilot program to use microchips to track racehorses at California racetracks and training centers. More than 600,000 horses have already been micro-chipped in the United States as part of the identification programs for livestock and companion animals.