News and Notes for December 21, 2018

The Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB), an investigative agency formed in 1946 by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America to protect the integrity of the sport, has announced the introduction of the digital tattoo system, scheduled for full implementation by January 1, 2020. The announcement was made by J. Curtis Linnell, executive vice president of the TRPB.  The TRPB provides authentication of identity for every Thoroughbred racing in the United States and Canada.  The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) passed a model rule regarding digital tattoos this past summer. The model rule states, effective by January 1, 2020, the racing secretary shall ensure that the registration certificates for all Thoroughbred horses that were foaled in 2018 or thereafter have a digital tattoo prior to entry in a race. “With modern technology, specifically the use of microchips, scanners, wireless technology and tablets, a digital tattoo will clearly provide a superior and more robust form of identification,” Linnell said. “We want the industry at large, as well as regulators and horse identification officials, not only to be aware of the impending change but to be fully prepared for implementation of the digital tattoo by January 1, 2020.” 

The transition to the TRPB Digital Tattoo follows the recent requirement by The Jockey Club for a horse to be microchipped prior to being registered and, more recently, the availability of a digital certificate of foal registration.  The breed registry for Thoroughbreds in North America issued the first digital foal certificate in May.  The software for the digital tattoo was developed by The Jockey Club Technology Services. “The TRPB’s Digital Tattoos are an ideal complement to The Jockey Club’s microchip and digital certificate initiatives,” said Rick Bailey, The Jockey Club registrar. “We are working closely with the TRPB to ensure that the horse identification system in place in for Thoroughbred racehorses in the U.S. and Canada is thorough as well as technologically advanced.” In essence, the digital tattoo is an electronic validation of the identity of a horse performed by a trained TRPB technician. The technician will use a scanner to read the horse’s microchip and the microchip number will hyperlink to electronic registration information. After fully examining the markings and foal photos contained in the horse’s electronic record, the technician will confirm the identity of the horse standing in front of him or her and upload a selection of digital pictures documenting the horse’s markings to The Jockey Club’s database. The TRPB technician will then place an electronic embossment on the face photo of the horse and a digital stamp on the electronic certificate of registration. This digital tattoo will indicate that the TRPB has verified the identity of the horse and uploaded updated digital photographs to the breed registry’s database. TRPB personnel will be meeting with racing officials, regulators, horse identification personnel and various other industry officials through the end of this year and throughout next year to familiarize them with the change. The current practice of branding horses on the inside lip will be discontinued at the end of 2019.  The TRPB website will contain additional information leading up to the rollout of the digital tattoo. The TRPB, based in Fair Hill, Maryland, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America and serves as a national investigative agency in the horse racing industry with the goal of maintaining public confidence in the sport of Thoroughbred racing.   Additional information about TRPB is available at

Karl Broberg on Thursday joined Steve Asmussen and Scott Lake as the only trainers in North American horse racing history to win 500 races in a single year.

Summer Lovin, ridden by Colby Hernandez and owned by Flurry Racing Stables, gave Broberg the milestone victory in the second race at Fair Grounds in New Orleans, drawing off by 16 lengths in a $30,000 claiming race. The 3-year-old daughter of Super Saver was sent off as the 4-5 favorite in the one-mile dirt contest originally scheduled to be run on turf.

The win came with Broberg’s 1,800th starter of 2018. It was career win No. 2,930 from 11,751 starts for the 48-year-old Illinois native, who is in his ninth full year of training.

Asmussen, a Hall of Famer who holds the single-season record of 650 wins set in 2009, topped 500 victories on four occasions. He first reached that plateau in 2004 when sending out 555 winners, added 621 in 2008, the aforementioned 650 in 2009 and 506 in 2010.

“I don’t think this will ever happen again,” said Broberg, citing the reduced number of races run each year. Broberg is currently racing at Fair Grounds and Delta Downs in Louisiana but has strings in several states throughout the year, including Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Paddock Foundation is putting together a video montage of horses that found new homes through Roses to Ribbons events at Texas racetracks. Please post photos or videos of you and your Roses to Ribbons horse on The Paddock Foundation Facebook page, and be sure to include the name of the horse as registered with The Jockey Club. We will create a link to the finished video of all these wonderful Thoroughbreds!

NOTES: According to TRC Global Rankings, Steve Amussen is ranked #16 in the world based on the number of Graded/Group wins by fillies and mares over the past eight seasons – congrats!!… Asmussen also broke records for number of wins in one meet with 105 and $3,001,673 in purse money earned for his 14th training title at Remington Park… Ballots in the TTA Board of Directors Election were tabulated Tuesday and the results are as follows: John Adger, Terry Eoff, Chris Hicks, Phil Leckinger, and David Stephens DVM were elected to 3-year terms as at-large directors; Judy Peek was elected to represent the North East Region…Save the date of Saturday, March 23 for the TTA Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner at Sam Houston Race Park…The TTA office will be closed for the holidays from December 24 – 26 and on New Year’s day.  We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!