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Identifying a Standardbred

From: Kim

Recently my husband purchased a wonderful standardbred mare (9 year old) that has a tattoo in her lip. I am told that we can track her by this brand, however, I have had no luck searching for a place to start. It appears to me that there are no "all-inclusive databases" and I am systematically beating my head against a wall trying to track this horse to her registration papers. The previous owner is no help...he sold her to a "horse trader" who never asks questions and I have been unable to locate any information but her tattoo number. She is obviously well bred, definitely a Standardbred, and my husband is more in love with her than me (some days!) and desperately wishes to breed her but prefers to have a clean paper trail before we pick a sire.

Could you point me in any direction that could knock off some of my "wheel spinning" time? I greatly appreciate your time and any direction you could provide.

Thank you, Kim

Hi Kim - actually you're in luck, because if you're in the States, there IS an all-inclusive database for Standardbred racehorses. It's maintained by the United States Trotting Association (USTA), which is the breed registry for Standardbreds.

You can visit the USTA web site at:

You can write to the USTA at:

United States Trotting Association 750 Michigan Ave Columbus, OH 43215

Or you can ring the USTA at their main number: (614) 224-2291.

If your mare's tattoo is clear enough to read, by all means begin by visiting the USTA web site, because one of the features you'll find there is a search service

that will let you type in your mare's tattoo and pull up information about her. In fact, you'll probably be able to identify her even if you can't read the full tattoo. The search format allows you to have wildcard options, so if there are any unclear numbers or letters in your mare's group of five characters, you'll be able to type in the ones you can read, substitute a '?' for each of the others, and search anyway. Read the wildcard help and the search instructions carefully - they're very helpful. You can also search by name or part of a name, or by name and tattoo, but I'd begin with the tattoo since you haven't got her papers. If you don't find anything under her name, keep in mind that the name your mare had when she came to you may not actually her registered name.

Once you've identified your mare, there are all sorts of records you'll be able to request, including her five-generation pedigree, her ownership history, her racing history (if any) and her breeding history (if any), and all of those reports are amazingly inexpensive. With a minimum of effort and expense, you should be able to establish a paper trail and begin planning that foal.

If you're thinking of going into the Standardbred business even on a very small scale, it would be a very good idea for you to become members of the USTA. You'll find information about membership on the web site. Good luck!


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