Don’t Automatically Bet Against Older RacehorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 7, 2014
Many Thoroughbred racehorses begin their racing careers at the age of two or three years old, and the majority run their last races by the time they are about five years old. Some are retired because of injuries, others because they are not winning, and still others because they have posted exceptional records and are headed for lucrative breeding careers. Horses that continue to race after five years old may be entered in shorter races or those that have smaller purses, but this is not always the case.
Gelded Thoroughbreds have no breeding prospects, and if they run well and stay sound, they may stay in training well beyond the age when many other horses are retired from the track. Two prime examples are Wise Dan (Charles LoPresti, trainer) with 21 wins in 29 starts and career earnings of $6.8 million, and Game On Dude (Bob Baffert, trainer) with 16 wins in 32 starts and career earnings of $6.4 million. Both of these seven-year-old horses train and race on feed products manufactured by Hallway Feeds, a Team Member of Kentucky Equine Research.
Race fillies often go on to second careers as broodmares, though some continue to succeed at the track. Judy The Beauty (Wesley Ward, trainer), a five-year-old mare, has claimed 7 wins in 16 starts for over $1 million in career earnings. This mare is also fed products from Hallway Feeds.
While continuing to race in their later years is not common, it’s up to a horse’s owner and trainer as to how long to keep a horse at the track. Chocolate Starr, a 10-year-old mare with a record of 16 wins in 52 starts, finished first in the Southern Belle Stakes this year. The five-furlong sprint, which was the first stakes win for Chocolate Starr, was held at Grants Pass Downs in Oregon. Chocolate Starr was the oldest entrant among the mares and fillies in the field.