I’ve been gathering more questions and we’ll tackle them here. Several were on purse distribution and others had to do with horse identification.
1) What is the purse distribution of a race and is the purse amount for the winner or split among all the horses?
– The listed purse for the race is what is to be divided among all the participants. Purse distribution is related somewhat to field size. The winner always gets 60%. In races with 10 or fewer starters the 2nd place finisher receives 20% which decreases to 19% for 11 starters, 18% for 12 and 13 starters and 17% for 14 starters; races with 9 starters and under the 3rd place horse gets 11% while any more starters and the horse gets 10%; Fourth is a little more spread out from 6% for smaller fields to 3% for larger fields while 5th on is generally 1% unless the field is small where the also-rans get 1.5% and 3% for six and five horse fields, respectively.
2) How are horses identified? When are they tattooed? Will microchips ever be used?
– Horses are identified by a tattoo on their upper lips. It’s not a tattoo that you would see on a human but a quick, basic set of numbers made up of dots. There is a method to the madness. A Thoroughbred tattoo has one letter, which indicates the year of birth, followed by four or five numbers, with horses over 25 years of age having only four. Horses foaled outside North America will also have an asterisk (*) at the beginning of the tattoo.
– There has been no indication that I know of that The Jockey Club is inclined to move toward using microchips as identification, though it would seem to be a much easier method of identification.