The Jockey Club Inspects for Early Foals

As a follow up to a rule revision last August that added provisions for field inspections, The Jockey Club sent two teams of representatives to farms in six states in December to examine broodmares with early 2005 breeding or 2006 foaling dates.

Alan Marzelli, president of The Jockey Club, said the inspections found both mares in foal and mares with foals at their sides. "I think it was a beneficial trip," he said. "From the reports I received, the inspection teams were well received by the farms, which thought the visits were very worthwhile."

The rule change, which appears in Section V of "Principal Rules and Requirements of The American Stud Book, "was implemented by The Jockey Club's board of stewards due to the increasing number of Thoroughbred foals reported as being born in the first several days of January, and a concern as to whether these foaling dates were accurately reported.

The breeding season traditionally begins Feb. 15, but many farms now open their breeding sheds earlier. With an 11-month gestation period, a foal born just two weeks prematurely could be foaled near the first of the year.

Marzelli, who wouldn't disclose the name of the farms that were visited, said the foals found to have been born prior to Jan. 1 would be required to be registered as foals of 2005.

"It's not The Jockey Club's place to tell a farm how to operate," Marzelli said. "It's our place to ensure the information being received is accurate and truthful."