Age of racehorses

Age of racehorses

The age of a racehorse has an influence on its physical capabilities. It is also a criterion for qualifying and being handicapped in a race. Racehorses uniformly have their birthday on the same day. Therefore two horses born months apart would be considered exactly the same age. In the Northern hemisphere this is on January the 1st. In the Southern Hemisphere this is on August the 1st.

Thoroughbred racing

Thoroughbred racehorses do not start racing until they are at least 2 years old. They are still quite immature physically at that stage and tend to be raced over shorter distances. Two-year-olds tend to only race against each other. Some of the biggest 2-year-old races are Golden Slipper, the Dewhurst Stakes, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the Blue Diamond Stakes.

Three-year-olds are also still maturing. But now, as well as competing against their own age group, they run against older horses. Usually, three-year-olds will compete against other horses of the same age during the spring, but will increasingly run against older competition later. However, they will carry less weight than the older horses. Three years of age is when horses can compete in the Classic races, most importantly the national Triple Crowns. Up to this stage entire males are called colts (desexed males are always called geldings) and females are called fillies.

Once horses turn four they are rarely eligible to race in age-restricted events. By then entire males are called stallions and females are called mares.

ee also

* Weight for Age

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