Bit by Bit Blog

Happy Birthday Yearlings!

January 1 ushers in many things- a new year, new foals and a new class of yearlings! All thoroughbreds (in the northern hemisphere) share the same birthday! Can you imagine the celebration?! 2017's class of yearlings are just one year away from the track and they will grow exponentially in the coming months. By age two, a thoroughbred will reach 90% of its full growth, which could mean gaining about 3 pounds a day!

Photo Credit & Copyright: Michele MacDonald

Photo Credit & Copyright: Michele MacDonald

Because of the semi-universal birthday  southern hemisphere thoroughbreds celebrate on August 1 northern hemisphere breeding season begins in early February, around Valentine's day. It seems to be a fitting holiday, but the medical reason is the 11 month gestation period of the mare. Farms begin breeding in February so foals can be born as close to January 1 as possible. This gives them ample time to grow and strengthen by the time they reach the sales ring and the track.

2017 will prove to be a crucial time for the yearlings as they prepare for the next step in their lives. For many, their attention will be directed towards sales preparation. The yearling sales at Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton will be here faster than you think and these future-runners will "graduate" to the big leagues with the ultimate goal of becoming a champion race horse.

How great would it be if you could brag to all of your friends "I knew that winner when they were just a baby?" Well, with a visit to one of the world-renown nurseries in Horse Country, you can!

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Data provided by the American Association Equine Practitioners.