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Tattoo Identification Services - General Information

Tattoo Lookup and Research

The Jockey Club Registry offers a free tattoo lookup and research service to help customers identify their Thoroughbred horses using the tattoo located on the horse’s upper lip.

Tattoo Lookup (for completely legible tattoos) and Tattoo Research (based on markings and the partial tattoo) are free and available to all Interactive RegistrationTM customers. For particularly difficult or unreadable tattoos, customers may submit to the Registry, a Tattoo Research Email to attempt identification using information contained in The Jockey Club's database, including color, markings, and photographs.

Thoroughbred horses are required by most state racing commission rules to be lip tattooed in order to participate in an official Thoroughbred race. The tattoo serves as an additional means of identification for the Thoroughbred while racing. As a service to all Thoroughbred racetracks to enable their compliance with these rules, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau applies the tattoo brand to Thoroughbreds stabled at all Thoroughbred Racing Association member tracks as well as non-member tracks and farms throughout the United States and Canada.

The Thoroughbred’s tattoo consists of a letter, corresponding to the horse’s year of birth, and four or five numbers. Tattoo Identification Services assists owners and agents in the identification of Thoroughbreds based upon what The Jockey Club records indicate to be the correct tattoo for a particular horse. In cases of tattooer error or international horses, The Jockey Club records might not reflect the actual tattoo present on the horse in question.


Already an Interactive RegistrationTM customer? Click here to lookup or research tattoos online immediately.

Click here to sign up for a FREE Interactive RegistrationTM account and begin researching tattoos online immediately.

Need help with a difficult tattoo? Click here to complete and submit a Tattoo Research Form to Registration Services. Please allow 3-5 days for research and processing.

For further inquiries or questions about your horse's tattoo or Tattoo Identification Services, please contact Registration Services at (800) 444-8521 for assistance.


Tips for Reading Lip Tattoos
A Thoroughbred tattoo is a letter followed by four or five numbers. The letter represents the year of foaling (see chart). Note: In tattoos that contain five numbers after the letter, the first number will be from zero to five.

The only exception to the letter is a foreign-born horse that was imported into North America. It will have an asterisk (*) in front of its tattoo.
  • Use a cloth to blot the lip to reduce shine and massage the area.
  • Take the horse into a dim area and shine a flashlight, blacklight, or colored LED light on the tattoo from below the lip, then try the light at different angles.
  • Take a digital picture of the tattoo and enhance the contrast. Note: Do not use a flash and take the picture on an overcast day or out of direct sunlight.
Codes for Tattoos of Thoroughbreds
YearLetter
1971A
1972B
1973C
1974D
1975E
1976F
1977G
1978H
1979I
1980J
1981K
1982L
1983M
1984N
1985O
1986P
1987Q
1988R
1989S
1990T
1991U
1992V
1993W
1994X
1995Y
1996Z
YearLetter
1997A
1998B
1999C
2000D
2001E
2002F
2003G
2004H
2005I
2006J
2007K
2008L
2009M
2010N
2011O
2012P
2013Q
2014R
2015S
2016T
2017U
2018V
2019W
2020X
2021Y
2022Z
© 2014 Padma Video LLC and Bay Area Equestrian Network. Used with Permission.

Please click here to fill out a form and our Registration Services will assist you in researching the horse’s tattoo.


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