Is It True All Racehorses Have Their Birthday on January 1st?

It sounds a strange question.

However, there is a grain of truth in the answer.

Surely, racehorses are born throughout the year? Even this isn’t quite true. As the UK Flat horse racing season starts in March or April you will find most racehorses are born from January – June. For horse racing purposes, a simple way to categorise each age group, horses become a year older on the turn of the new year.

So for racehorses, January 1st signifies one year older.

However, you will find that most two-year-old racehorses, although classified as two, are not officially two until their birth date (some are older).

For example, an individual born on the 2nd May will not officially be two until that date. However, publications such as the Racing Post or Sporting Life will show them as being two.

All age groups of race horses are categorised the same.

Predominantly, two-year-old thoroughbreds race against their own age group. There is a small number of races where they are eligible to contest older horses. They are given a significant weight advantage (handicapped) because they would have little chance of beating older opposition without this advantage.

The most significant race where two-year-olds race against older opposition is the Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) which is held at York racecourse in the month of August over 5f.

Since 1922, just five two-year-olds have won this race: High Treason (1953), My Beau (1954), Ennis (1956), Lyric Fantasy (1992) & Kingsgate Native (2007).

With a weight allowance of at least 22lbs and winning prize money of £226,840 it’s a race most horse trainers would like to win.