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Ray Paulick just tweeted his new post at Paulick Report (read it here), and I picked it up and went for a read.

In his trenchant post, Paulick critiques the Jockey Club for taking a laissez-faire stand about restrictions on the transfer of JC registration papers. In particular, he quotes the new JC head, Matt Iuliano, saying the organization doesn’t want to “insert” itself into private transactions.

Philosophically, I cannot see any other path for the Jockey Club to take. If it is a de facto party to every private sale or public transaction by sanctioning transmission of JC registration papers or monitoring their deletion from the registry, the JC would acquire extraordinary new powers that might not be a good thing all round, and the organization would need several dozen new suits to oversee and manage the resulting boondoggle.

It would be a nightmare.

In contrast, I would suggest that the “stickiness” of JC registration papers, which follow horses all their lives, is actually a blessing to the animals and to those who want to protect them.

For many Thoroughbreds (especially mares), having a set of JC registration papers is their only lifeline to a decent home and the prospects of satisfactory care. The simple fact that they are “Thoroughbred” makes them something special, and there are thousands of such mares out there today who owe their roles as pets, trail horses, show ponies, or producers in the Paint horse or Quarter Horse breeds to the seemingly unimportant fact that they are registered and have their papers.

A horse without papers is just a critter. Even if the owner knows it is a Thoroughbred, the animal simply does not have the cachet of a registered (paper pedigreed) animal, and with a change of ownership or two, the animal’s identity is totally defaced. And being or being mistaken for a “grade horse” is a dangerous thing, even today, because they make up the great majority of those animals sent to slaughter.

In contrast, Thoroughbreds were a small minority of the horses caught up in that sad situation. And the thing that kept so many of them from the precipice was their identity as “Thoroughbred,” which gained them a place as companion animal, pet, general athlete, or pasture art to impress the neighbors driving by.

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