Timing can be everything when it comes to Thoroughbred racehorses. Because the registration rules of American and British Jockey Clubs mandate that all Thoroughbreds share Jan. 1 as their “official” birthdays, that can mean some foals had better arrive as scheduled, and not beforehand. Otherwise they end up racing against peers that may be the same age, race-wise, but are actually months more mature.
A case in point is the tale of a filly from a mare by the winsome name of Magical Romance. The stellar broodmare was purchased for a world-record $9.3 million last Nov. 28. She was in-foal to a renowned Thoroughbred stallion named Pivotal. Unfortunately, Magical Romance was in a bit of a hurry to deliver her foal, presenting the world with a filly on Wednesday, Dec. 20. That’s 24 days premature. While the filly is doing just fine, she officially turns into a yearling on January 1, less than two weeks after her birth. When she begins her racing career, if she does so in the Northern Hemisphere, she will compete against horses that are six to 11 months older. The only recourse is to perhaps race her in the Southern Hemisphere, where rules about birthdates are less stringent.