White Standardbred Foal BornBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · June 27, 2012
A blue-eyed, white-coated Standardbred colt has been born to a bay mare and stallion in New Jersey. Genetic tests show the unusual color is the result of a spontaneous mutation rather than the appearance of a rare recessive trait carried by the parents. The foal, born in May 2012, has a few small brown spots along his spine but is otherwise pure white.
Other horses that appear white are often actually light gray or cream-colored. Albino horses occur infrequently, but these animals typically have pink eyes. The white colt is thought to have a mutation that fails to signal pigment-producing cells to migrate away from the neural crest during the fetal stage of development. This type of mutation is also seen in mice, pigs, and dogs.
A small number of white Thoroughbreds, several of which have a few spots of brown hair, have been registered with The Jockey Club, but the incidence is infrequent.