The Jockey Club has announced a change in its Stud Book rules that will permit representatives of the organization to physically inspect horses. According to a release, the rule change was made to insure the accurate foaling date of foals listed as born right after the first of the year.
All Thoroughbreds age Jan. 1 each year. Thus a foal born in late December would actually become a yearling when just a few days or weeks old.
The breeding season used to begin 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.
"With these rule revisions, we are reminding North American breeders that Jan. 1 of the year of foaling is the official date of birth for Thoroughbreds," Jockey Club registrar Rick Bailey said. "Those who choose to breed mares early may risk having foals born prior to Jan. 1. To protect the integrity of The American Stud Book, the enacted rules provide that The Jockey Club may require horses be made available for inspection."
In England earlier this year, Philip Mitchell, European general manager of Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, was warned off racecourse and licensed premises for three months for admitting to falsifying the foaling date of eventual group winner Endless Summer. The colt was born Dec. 26, 1997 but was recorded as foaled Jan. 2, 1998.
The rule changes appear in Section V of the Principal Rules and Requirements of The American Stud Book. Rule 1(C) states:
For the purpose of determining age of the Thoroughbred, the date of birth of a Thoroughbred is deemed to be January 1 of the year of foaling.
The Jockey Club may require any party who seeks to register a foal or who submits information related in any way to registration of a foal to provide such further evidence and assurances as The Jockey Club may reasonably require, and may also require any such party make the horse(s) involved available for inspection.
The designation of Jan. 1 as the date of birth for all foals was previously set forth in the definition of "yearling" in section III of the Rules.
The Jockey Club also added two new subsections to Rule 21 as follows:
(I) The Jockey Club may require any party who requests action (or inaction) from The Jockey Club or who submits information to The Jockey Club in connection with the processes and functions of The Jockey Club to provide such evidence and further assurances as The Jockey Club may reasonably require, and may also require any such party to make the horse(s) involved available for inspection.
The Jockey Club also reminds owners and breeders that any person or entity engaging in deceptive practices may be denied any or all of the privileges of The American Stud Book (in accordance with Section V, Rule 19).
All revisions to the Rules are posted in the online rule book available through http://www.jockeyclub.com/registry.asp?section=3