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Tattoo Identification Services - Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Thoroughbred Tattoos and Tattoo Lookup

1. How do I research my horse's tattoo?

If you are an existing Interactive Registration (IR) customer, log on to your IR account at www.registry.jockeyclub.com and click the Tattoo Identification Services banner on the left side to access The Jockey Club's comprehensive set of research tools and tips to assist you in identifying your Thoroughbred. For more information on IR or to register for an account, click here. Note: If your horse's tattoo has only four numbers, you must fill out a form to have the tattoo researched. Click here.

If the tattoo is fairly legible, enter the tattoo exactly as it appears in the spaces provided under Tattoo Lookup and basic information on any matching registered Thoroughbred will be returned.

Tattoos that are only partially legible can be researched by selecting the applicable input from the drop down boxes provided under Tattoo Research. Based upon information provided, detailed markings of Thoroughbreds will be returned for comparison with your horse to determine if a possible match exists.


2. What if I can't read my horse's tattoo or I can read only part of the tattoo?

As horses age, the tattoo may become faded and difficult to read. Tattoo Research enables IR customers to select numerous combinations of letters and numbers based upon your visual inspection of the lip tattoo. Detailed markings of possible matching Thoroughbreds are returned for comparison. Useful tips and instructions for reading particularly difficult tattoos are available at Tips for Reading a Lip Tattoo.

If, after several attempts, you are still unsuccessful in identifying your Thoroughbred, please click here to fill out a form and our Registration Services will assist you in researching the horse's tattoo.


3. What information should I provide to have my horse's tattoo researched by Registration Services?

In order to request a tattoo research, please provide:
  • The legible characters of the tattoo
  • The horse's color, sex, and approximate age
  • Your name, phone number, and e-mail address
  • The horse's leg and face markings and any cowlicks on the head or neck. (Click here for assistance with describing markings.)
  • Additional information regarding where and when you acquired the horse and any other information that may be helpful to the researcher.

4. My horse is over 25 years old and the Tattoo Lookup is returning a young horse. What do I do?

If your horse is over 25 years old, please click here to fill out a form and our Registration Services will assist you in researching the horse's tattoo.


5. My horse's tattoo has more than one letter. What do I do?

If your horse's tattoo has more than one letter, please click here to fill out a form and our Registration Services will assist you in researching the horse's tattoo.


6. My horse's tattoo has fewer than five numbers, or the letter is after the numbers. What does this mean?

Most Thoroughbred tattoos are one letter followed by five numbers. Some Thoroughbred tattoos have four numbers, which indicates the horse is older than 25. Other breeds also tattoo racehorses on their upper lips. A Quarter Horse tattoo consists of four or five numbers followed by a letter, and a Standardbred tattoo consists of one letter followed by four numbers.


7. What do I do if my horse doesn't have a tattoo?

At this time, we are able to research horses based only on their tattoos.


8. Can I look up a tattoo for my Standardbred, racing Quarter Horse, or other breed?

No. Tattoo Lookup is only for Thoroughbreds. For other breeds, please contact the horse's respective breed registry.

9. I was not able to determine my horse's identity. What else can I do?

Please click here to fill out a form and our Registration Services will assist you in researching the horse's tattoo.
If you have already requested research and it was unsuccessful, please contact the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau at (410) 398-2261 or trpbinfo@trpb.com.


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