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A Guide to Researching Your Thoroughbred's Pedigree:
The Internet and Other Resources

A free on-line site to research thoroughbred pedigrees is the Pedigree Online Thoroughbred Database, the source of over two million thoroughbred pedigrees world-wide. Caution should be exercised in using the site, since the general public is allowed to enter data. Includes some photos and art, and sometimes cryptic remarks in the notes section for different horses. Its sister site, All Breed Horse Pedigrees Database, includes thoroughbreds, quarter horses, and other breed pedigrees.

Weatherby's Eclipse On-Line is Europe's largest racing and breeding database. It offers pedigree reports, sire and dam statistics and access to the General Stud Book. Some products are offered free of charge. Reports are coordinated with the American Jockey Club's Equineline and are ordered through the latter site.

The American Jockey Club also has an on-line interactive link to its registration records at its Equine Line site; signing up for a user name and password will gain free access to a lot of valuable information.

The New Zealand Stud Book has an on-line database with basic pedigree information available for free to "Guest" registrants, and a more complete database offered to paying members. The Australian Stud Book offers also offers basic information on a specific horse (sire, dam, date of birth and family number), but additional information, such as races won, and descent lines, are only available to paying subscribers. The Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association offers access in English and Japanese to the Japan Studbook Database and the Japan Bloodstock Information System, which provide progeny and produce records, race records and other data, some of which is free of charge.

BRIS (Bloodstock Research Information Services) also offers a free on-line stallion directory with pedigrees for currently standing stallions; like the Jockey Club, this part of its site is accessible with a user name and password once you sign up.

Another useful source is the long-lived and ever-growing Sporthorse Data, run by an international consortium of sporthorse enthusiasts; the searchable database often includes rare photographs, and historic thoroughbreds, which figure so prominently in all sporthorse breeds, are well-represented.

What other resources are available?

Here are some resources that are not free, but often worth the added expense if you are serious about pedigree research. 
(BRIS) offers the venerable American Produce Records on-line now, for a registration fee. It also offers various pedigree reports that can be ordered and downloaded immediately once an on-line account has been established.  The same applies to Equine Line, the Jockey Club's own on-line marketplace for pedigree reports. These commercial reports are often bargains at the price, and are especially useful to get up-to-date race records if past performances from the Daily Racing Form aren't available. Equine Line also offers tattoo research. Weatherby's offers the same type of services and products for horses registered in England.

Are there any books you recommend, and where can I find them?

There are probably thousands of books that have at least some information you will be looking for, as you can see by browsing the Bibliography we've provided at this site. Many of these books are still in print and available through various on-line catalogs and booksellers, such as the good used book service, ABE Books.

Thanks to GoogleBooks and the Internet Archive, and other websites, such as the Hathi Trust Digital Library some rare or hard to find books and pamphlets are now available on line, without charge. Also, the list of worthy e-books focusing on horse racing and related topics is growing, available at Amazon and elsewhere. For the U.S.A., the historical on-line Daily Racing Form, which included race results, gossip and photographs, is a must-see source, sponsored by the Keeneland Association, the Daily Racing Form, the Kentucky Virtual Library and the University of Kentucky. In addition, many university and national libraries, in the U.S. and internationally, have selections of their collections on-line.

Please don't let the information on the internet discourage you from actually visiting any of the wonderful racing and breeding libraries available to you--some may be closer than you think.  Many carry especially rare books and stud books which may be impossible to find elsewhere.  Check out your local racetrack, state-bred offices, or colleges and universities, especially those with strong agriculture and equine programs.

Finally, after you've found all these wonderful horses, you can see what some of them look(ed) like on our Portraits page, or you can use our Search page if you know the name of the horse, and a hyper-link list of images of the horse (if any) on our site will be provided.

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