Edmund P. Coffey, Daily Racing Form, 1954-06-23


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I EDMUND P. COFFEY ~| Edmund P. Coffey is vice-president o/ the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, an affiliate of the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of the United States. When the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau was organized in January of 1946, one of the most serious problems it immediately ran into was that of ringer cases. During that first year TRPB investigation uncovered 22 instances where ringers ran in races on American tracks. These included such notorious cases as that of "WILLOW RUN" and "FLYING KILTS" at New Orleans; "SEA COMMAND" and "ALLPULCH" in New England; and the "JOE S" case in Illinois. Mr. Spencer J. Drayton realized that the then existing systems of horse identification were not adequate to cope with the problem and prevent ringing cases. He requested me to make an exhaustive survey of all possible horse identification systems with a view to eliminating this undesirable condition. As a result, a study was made of the value of identification by photographs. Following this we tested identification by night eyes. Next we analyzed a method of using the whorl patterns in the hide. The Bertillon system of measurements was also tested. Finally tattoo branding of the lip was surveyed. In all of these systems except tattoo branding there were found inherent weaknesses which precluded their use on a wholly reliable basis. After eliminating all the other methods, Mr. Drayton and I went to the Army Remount Station at Pomona, California. There we studied the tattoo system which at that time was being experimented with by the Army. Process Simple and Effective The process was found to be simple and completely effective. It provided a permanent unchangeable brand on the inside of the upper lip that was quickly readable. It could be applied efficiently and without any pain to or difficulty with the horse. As a result of these studies, the TRA adopted the tattoo brand system and requested TRPB to further develop the process. This development was placed on a scientific research basis. TRPB technicians together with Dr. James N. Frost, Professor of Ani- ►to perfect the impregnation of the tattoo pigment on a permanent basis. Precision instrument makers designed and built the special instruments now used. The Army was using a hand needle to form the outline of the figures in the tattooing. TRPB developed custom-manufactured dies embodying secret designs to forestall counterfeiting. These dies imprint an entire figure or letter in one operation. The brand put on the lip is the serial number of The Jockey Club Foal Registration Certificate with a prefix letter used to denote the age of the horse. An Asterisk is used to denote an imported Thoroughbred. From then on— the horse carries his identification with him. The Jockey Club aided in the project by permitting a seal to be imprinted on the Registration Certificate attesting that the horse had been tattooed. They also post the tattoo information into the Stud Book records. Thus, there is established an unbreakable link between The Jockey Club Certificate of Registration and the Thoroughbred for which it was issued. 46,000 Horses Tattooed Special Tattoo Crews were trained in the work, and to date 46,000 Thoroughbreds have been tattoo branded under the TRA program. This has been accomplished without a single fatality or injury to any horse. The tattooed horses forever carry this indelible stamp of identity and the original Jockey Club Certificate contains the imprint attesting that the horse has been tattoo branded. The tattoo brand is easily read in the paddock and may be seen by the public at the time of examination. It thus inspires confidence on the part of the public as to the identity of the horse. Complete identification is effected in the paddock by comparing the horse with the age, sex, color, white markings and tattoo brand, all of which appear on The Jockey Club Foal Certificate. Thus the identification is accomplished by reference to an original official document of identity and pedigree. It is as positive and official as the deed to your lot registered at the County Court House. The original objective was absolute iden- « «■■■* - a— r. Continued from Page Five tificatiori of the Thoroughbred in the paddock preceding a race, and such has been accomplished; however, many incidental benefits have resulted from the tattoo system. Horses being vanned into the stable area may be checked as to identity at the stable gate, and thereby the complete identity of every horse on the grounds is established. The tattoo brand may be checked when the saliva sample is taken or when the urine specimen is later taken at the barn, thus establishing positively the identity of the. horse from which the sample is taken. On the breeding farms the identity of mares is checked at the breeding shed. The Jockey Club Foal application form how-requires the tattoo number of the dam. Insurances companies check the brand on the carcass of horses that have been destroyed or have died. Custom officials check the tattoo brand of Thoroughbreds crossing the border to assure that the same horses will be returned in accordance with the terms of their entry. This makes shipment into Canada and Mexico much simpler for the horsemen. At TRA headquarters many inquiries are received requesting the identification of horses that have been sold or abandoned. Cites Waterford Example One of the most convincing proofs of the superiority of the tattoo brand method over all other methods of horse identification occurred following a disastrous fire at Waterford Park Race Track in 1952. Hundreds * of horses were released from their barns and after the fire they were found scattered all around the nearby terrain. The tattoo brand was the only means of rapidly identifying most of these horses so that they could be promptly returned to their owners. The tattoo branding is done without cost to the horsemen — all expenses are borne by TRA. Horses are currently branded as yearlings beginning November 1st prior to their two-year-old season. Thus, the majority of them at TRA tracks are tattoo* branded before they establish any racing record whatsoever. Identity at the time of branding is carefully checked by well-trained experts. The horse must conform in every respect to the description on The Jockey Club Foal Certificate. He must be presented and identified by a known trainer or owner of good repute, and all concerned must certify to the identification in writing. Tattoo branding has met with wide acceptance throughout the United States: The Jockey Club on February 9, 1947 approved tattoo branding with the following statement: "During the last six months the Stewards of The Jockey Club have made a careful study of lip tattooing for Thoroughbred horses. They belieye that such tattooing would be an important addition to the identification of horses, in conjunction with their* registration certificates which include markings. They therefore recommend that Thoroughbred racing horses two-years-old and upward be tattooed by the lip tattoo method — preferably with the number identical with their registration certificate numbers. It* is hoped that owners will voluntarily adopt the practice and that racing associations will make arrangements towards that end and offer facilities for that purpose." On February 23, 1947 the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of the United States, Inc., announced that its membership had unanimously approved lip tattooing as a means of identifying horses. Jockey Club Ruling The Jockey Club on June 8, 1950 issued a ruling that all horses racing at tracks under the jurisdiction of The Jockey Club must be tattoo branded after January 1, 1951; and on October 18, 1950 The Jockey Club issued a ruling that the tattooing of Thoroughbreds at tracks under .the jurisdiction of The Jockey Club was to be accomplished by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau. In New Jersey the former rule of the Racing Commission required the Association to furnish the paddock judge with photographs of every horse entered in the race. The Rules were amended, however, by the Commission in April, 1948, to read as follows: "However, where horses .have been officially tattooed and The Jockey Club Certificate contains an endorsement that they have been so tattooed, the above-mentioned photographs will not-be necessary." In August of 1947, the New York office of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals inspected the tattoo branding process and approved the same. The Florida Racing Commission has approved the use of the tattoo brand in lieu of photographs, and in a letter to the TRPB, dated December 4, 1948, the secretary of the Florida Commission wrote in part as follows: "This is to advise that we heartily approve your identification program and you are hereby authorized to proceed in the normal way with the, tattooing of all horses presented to you for this purpose in the State of Florida." Arkansas Letter to TRPB The Arkansas Racing Commission on December 12, 1949, addressed a letter to the TRPB, in part as follows: "As you know, the Arkansas Racing Commission decided last year that the tattooing of horses as sponsored by the TRPB be a requisite before any horse is allowed to be entered in any race at Oaklawn Park for the 1950 meet and any meet thereafter. The entire Commission was interested in the tattooing process and has adopted the tattoo brand as the sole means of positive identification. This new ruling will be incorporated in the rule book now being revised and will be Ruie No. 177." The Code of Standards of TRA provides that horses be tattoo branded before racing at any member track. Many non-member TRA tracks use it. At these latter tracks, many horses come to their races which have been tattooed at TRA tracks, and the identifier makes ready use of the tattoo brand for his identification purposes. The Ontario Racing Commission of Canada adopted tattoo branding in March, 1950. In April of 1954, tattooing was adopted for horse identification by the Prairie Thoroughbred Breeders and Racing Association of Western Canada. The Hungarian Jockey Club on April 21, 1949; wrote that they would adopt a similar method of tattooing their Thoroughbreds in Hungary. In addition, a number of inquiries have been received from foreign countries evidencing such interest in tattoo branding that it is not unlikely it will eventually be utilized throughout the world for identification of Thoroughbreds. .The Royal Canadian Mounted Police solved a difficult problem of identifying their large herd of solid black horses. Requesting advice and equipment from TRPB, we designed for their use a special modified numbering system which they now tattoo on these horses. Even the courts have recognized the efficacy of the tattoo system. In March of 1948, the New Hampshire Superior Court, after hearing arguments concerning the identity of a Thoroughbred, ordered that the horse be tattooed by the TRPB so that there could be no question of its identity in the future. Tattoo branding of Thoroughbreds has now been done for seven and one-half years and there lias not been a single ringer involving a tattooed horse in that period. TRA has spent 40,000 on the project, tattooing 46,000 horses at a cost of about per head. Thus, there has finally been developed a system that provides a simple, efficient, low-cost procedure for the positive identification of race horses that can be used universally.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1954062301/drf1954062301_5_6
Local Identifier: drf1954062301_5_6
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800