Jockey Club Amends Rule Book; Adds ‘Retired From Racing’ Clause

by | 02.27.2013 | 2:18pm

The Jockey Club has amended Rule 18 of the Principal Rules and Requirements of The American Stud Book from Sold Without Pedigree to Sold as Retired from Racing so that an owner can retire a Thoroughbred from racing without affecting its breeding privileges, it was announced today.

Under the previous Rule 18, the Certificate of Foal Registration for a horse sold without pedigree was returned to The Jockey Club and cancelled, and the horse was no longer considered a Thoroughbred for breeding or racing purposes.

Under the amended Rule 18, the owner of a Thoroughbred can request that The Jockey Club attach a special notation to the Certificate of Foal Registration to indicate the horse should no longer be considered a Thoroughbred for racing purposes. Unlike the previous Sold Without Pedigree, horses that are Retired from Racing are still considered Thoroughbreds for breeding purposes.


“For myriad reasons, owners may not want their Thoroughbred to race again, but they do want the horse's offspring to be eligible for registration with The Jockey Club,” said Matt Iuliano, executive vice president and executive director, The Jockey Club. “We developed the Sold as Retired from Racing rule with that in mind.”

To sell a horse as retired from racing, the owner must send a signed and notarized Sold as Retired from Racing form, a set of photographs of the horse, and the horse's Certificate of Foal Registration to The Jockey Club within 60 days of the sale. The Jockey Club will stamp the certificate “Retired from Racing” and forward it to the purchaser. A copy of such stamped certificates will be made available at for interested industry stakeholders.

The rule change comes as welcome news to owners, horsemen, and organizations dedicated to aftercare.

“I recently tried to sell a horse for breeding purposes only, but the horse ended up back at the track,” said Thoroughbred owner Earle Mack. “This new rule will help owners do what they believe is in the best interests of their horses. We surely owe our horses that.”

“This is a valuable tool to protect the future of retired racehorses,” said Rick Violette Jr., president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. “It will simplify the transfer process and give owners the peace of mind of knowing the horses they retire will not race again.”

“This rule will greatly enhance Thoroughbred aftercare efforts,” said Mike Ziegler, executive director, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. “Many owners and rescue organizations were hesitant about sending pedigree papers with a horse because they were worried the horse would end up back on the track. Now, the papers can travel with the Thoroughbred to its second career, making it easier to identify and more appealing to new owners.”

The retired from racing rule is spelled out below and can be found in the online Principal Rules and Requirements of The American Stud Book at

New Rule 18


A.  If an owner desires a Thoroughbred to be considered retired from racing, the owner/owner's agent must submit the following to The Jockey Club within 60 days after the date of sale:

1.  The Certificate of Foal Registration;

2.  A completed Sold as Retired from Racing form bearing notarized signatures of both the owner/owner's agent and the purchaser/purchaser's agent;

3.  A set of four color photographs of the horse (front, both sides, and rear views) clearly showing the color and the markings (or lack of markings) on the head, legs and body; and

4.  Any further evidence and assurances as The Jockey Club may require.

B. Upon receipt in the Registry Office, the respective Certificate of Foal Registration will be stamped “Retired from Racing” and will be returned to the purchaser/purchaser's agent.  A copy of the stamped Certificate of Foal Registration will be made available on The Jockey Club Registry website at

C.  Certificates of Foal Registration for Thoroughbreds that were recorded by the Registry Office as Sold Without Pedigree prior to March 2013 shall remain cancelled.

Additional information about the new Rule 18 may be obtained by contacting The Jockey Club

  • Ninjanoodle

    Now this is one rule I am happy to see come about.

    Well done

  • R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

    Very disappointed in the manner in which the
    Jockey Club amended Jockey Club Rule NO: 18: Sold Without Pedigree. At
    the very least they could have kept the original rule as written as an
    option and also given owners of thoroughbreds the option
    to utilize the form for not racing only. Our organization has utilized
    and educated many horsemen and other organizations about the Sold
    Without Pedigree form. As an organization like ours that has a “no
    breeding policy”, how is this amendment protecting adopted or rescued
    thoroughbreds from being used for breeding? It isn’t. For heaven sakes,
    are there not enough thoroughbreds being bred every year? Are there not
    enough thoroughbreds needing help every week and many of them being
    broodmares that were thrown away like garbage and some are even in
    foal? Are there not enough thoroughbreds going to slaughter every week?
    Aftercare and retirement organizations should be helping thoroughbreds
    retire from racing, adopting horses out for second careers such as
    jumping, dressage, hunters, etc., not promoting breeding and creating
    more horses. We have contacted the Jockey Club to voice our concerns. 

    • horseluv73

      I agree and also feel that there should be an option for both Retired from Racing and Sold Without Pedigree so the horse cannot race and be breed. There are too many Thoroughbreds out there without homes. There is no need to breed more and add to that population.

  • NY Owner

    I too am happy to see the ability to prevent horses from racing in the future.  I have mixed feelings about organizations that eliminate breeding from future uses of retired race horses.  I don’t think you can equate the breeding of horses to puppy farms or to the feral reproduction dogs and cats.  It is rare that horses are bred accidentally and even if they are, they will only produce 1 foal a year, not multiple litters.  When you eliminate breeding from future use, you are making it many times more difficult to rehome a horse that is not sound enough for riding.  As an owner and breeder, I am dedicated to making sure that all my retirees and those of my clients are adopted out to good and suitable homes.  That is our obligation.  I don’t send them to retirement homes or rescues.  Those organizations are burdened enough and bless all of them and their workers for the job they do!

    • Jsmith

      From that ‘1 foal a year’, 20,000+ TB’s end up at the slaughter house every year.  Perhaps you could educate the owners of those horses on their obligations.  I’m glad to hear you make sure your retirees are taken care of, but the owners & breeders of 20,000 a year do not, and these are not all old broken down horses (even if they were, they do not deserve the horror of slaughter).  Deputy Broad, 6yrs old, 8 days off the track (Mountaineer, W. Virginia) slaughtered in Canada.  Ravishingly, bore 5 foals, shot in the head and processed Oct 2012.  EZ Irish (she, herself, was bred but no longer owned by Highclere KY) in foal, saved from the kill pen, currently being cared for by a rescue, 6 emails sent to breeder asking if they could help, no response.  These are just 3 of 1000’s.  I hope you can see why so many of us say the less breeding the better.  It’s heartbreaking to know so many horses are not well cared for and meet such an awful end.  Keep talking to owners about their obligation to their horse, you can (and sounds like already have) make a difference.

  • Yvonne

    This is definitely a very positive step in the right direction!

  • Teamyeagrr

    just what  is needed   for  MORE  horses  to be  bred  to  junk  AND  more  poor babies sent  to the  killers    :(

  • Teamyeagrr

    who needs   MORE  thoroughbreds  being sent to the  killers..??    its  sad when the babies get send to  the  killers.

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