Oldest active racehorses

I was going through an equibase rabbit hole and stumbled on this gent


The last active runner for Holy Bull, won his last race at 13 and entered to race today! Is there an age limit for flat racing? I think he’s the oldest one I’ve seen.


I think the age limit is 13 in the US and 16 in Canada. At least that’s what it is for standardbreds.

In researching, I found that the age limit in Australia seems to be 12 now for Thoroughbreds - at least that’s according to an article I found.

I know there have been some 10+ I’ve come across in my life, most can’t get racing out of their head after that.

But, just like people, you can only be competitive for so long. I imagine 10+ YO race horse is like a 30 year old trying to be competitive in track and field. Usain Bolt retired at the age of 31. Not sure about his tortoise.

1 Like

Interesting. He won that race on August 20th, “easily” by 5 1/4 lengths.

We moved this thread to the Racing forum from OT. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you! I was confused how I put it in the wrong place.

1 Like

Times past, jump racing in the UK and Ireland used to start a horses racing career at five or six years, giving them time to mature. These days, with much improved vet, nutrition, better ground etc. flat-race geldings (very rarely stallions and relatively few mares) frequently swap to “over fences” as older horses and it isn’t unusual to have them running successfully at 13 and 14. Then they move on to a final career e.g. as a hunter or riding horse. The minimum age they can race is two. The Classic races are focused on three year olds. Top horses go to stud just as soon as their performance is sufficiently proved to have a market/breeding value, and that seems to be world wide. A problem with older race horses is training: they “fall out if love with the game”, get bored and stop racing.

My most beloved horse raced until 11, then went on to be my show horse as a teenager.

Hard to say if I agree or disagree with them not being able to get racing out of their head when it comes to him, though. He raced 109 times in everything from graded stakes to running for a $5k tag. Yes, he could be tough and racey-- he was originally a resale project, but was such a hot mess at the beginning that I held on to him longer, then got attached. But I mean, I was a 15 year old kid when I got him and was able to reschool him to be my children’s hunter at the local shows. He was an incredible horse, always the barn favorite. Certainly had some physical and mental baggage from his long career, but then I’ve known horses with lesser careers with as much or more baggage.


That’s why I said most, not all…MOST.

That’s been my experience. I have known some that turn into pudgy school horse types, happy to canter in the back of the pack after winning graded stakes races but most that I have known are not like that.

He sounds like he was super special. What was his breeding?


His last official start was a DNF at 10, but he went back in training, had several published works, then I think he hurt himself again.

He was an incredible horse. He opened so many doors in racing for me as a young adult because everyone remembered him. “Hey, come meet this girl, she owns Brukabookie now!”

Sorry, to ramble on. It’s just nice to remenice on my favorite horse.


You’re not rambling! I love hearing about the happy lives of OTTBs who found their special person and forever home after the track. BTDT and miss them every day. Thanks for sharing.:kissing_heart:

ETA: Wish I could have seen mine race. They only told me stories after the fact. And what stories. :grin:


In the US the age for standardbreds is 14. I know because my guy raced on 12/29 of his 14 year old year before retiring because he aged out on January 1. I was under the impression that it was the same for TB’s but I am not completely sure.

I’m not sure where it would be 16 in Canada, but in Ontario, it’s 14, not 16. It might be older out on the east coast maybe. Unfortunately my SO isn’t home right now, of course he’s at a horse sale, so I can’t ask him to confirm.

1 Like