Homeracing

10 Most Obvious Racehorse Faces

Profile Picture: Molly Jo Rosen

Molly Jo Rosen

August 23rd, 2014

Probably the most common question I hear from handicappers is "How can you tell those horses apart? Isn't it just 'brown horse roulette' out there?" And I can see why folks ask that...
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Left: Royal Delta and Little Mike are both Bay colored with a Star marking. Middle: Will Take Charge and Shackleford are both Chestnuts with full a Blaze. Right: Close Hatches and First Dude are both Bays with No Marks on their faces.

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Sometimes you become a fan of a horse and you can spot them from a mile away. When I was clocking, I was that way with Force Freeze. It was the way he walked, the way he carried himself ~ that horse had a presence!

He is a rather nondescript-marked horse (see  left): officially a dark Bay or brown gelding with a small curved star and some white on all four ankles. But to most people, he looked like any other horse on the track.

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This got me thinking...

How many horses have obvious markings? So here's my Top 10 in recent memory... who would you add to the list?
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1. Rachel Alexandra

Your 2009 Horse of the Year by Medaglia d'Oro out of the Roar mare Lotta Kim, Rachel is a bay with a "Large curved star, open on bottom; wide stripe, beginning in center of face, narrowing and becoming bordered flesh colored to left above nostrils, ending between nostrils, into left nostril" and white marks on her left front ankle and her right hind leg.

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2. Shackleford

The 2011 Preakness winner by Forestry out of the Unbridled mare Oatsee (a Broodmare of the Year herself) is a chestnut with a "Large star and connected stripe, becoming bordered flesh colored above nostrils, extending between nostrils, covering left nostril on top, into both nostrils, ending on upper lip; flesh colored patch to left on lower lip" and scattered white hairs in his coat.

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3. Zenyatta

The 2010 Horse of the Year and three-time Champion Older Mare out by Street Cry out of the Kris S. mare Vertigineux, Zenyatta is a dark bay with "Large irregular bordered star, pointed slightly to right on top and connected irregular narrow stripe, ending on bridge of nose" and markings on both hind legs and her right front ankle. She also has a few white hairs in her flanks.

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4. Will Take Charge

The 2013 Champion 3yo and multiple graded stakes winner by Unbridled's Song out of the G1 winning Dehere mare Take Charge Lady, WTC is a chestnut with a "Large bordered star and connected wide bordered flesh colored stripe, covering both nostrils, ending on upper lip; flesh colored patch to right on lower lip," both hind stockings and a three-quarter stocking on his left front leg.

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5. Lava Man

The most successful claim in racing history, the dark bay son of Slew City Slew out of the Nostalgia's Star mare Li'l Ms. Leonard, the gelding affectionately known as The Coach has a "Star pointed to right and connected thin mixed stripe, widening on bridge of nose, becoming bordered flesh colored above nostrils, narrowing and ending in a point between nostrils on bottom, into both nostrils" and white markings on all four ankles.

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6. Union Rags

The multiple graded stakes winning Dixie Union stallion out of the Gone West mare Tempo has a "Large star slightly open to left and connected wide stripe, becoming bordered flesh colored on bridge of nose, narrowing to right between nostrils on bottom, into both nostrils, ending to right on upper lip" and white on both hind legs and his right front ankle.

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7. Mucho Macho Man

The 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic winner, Mucho Macho Man is a son of Macho Uno out of the Ponche mare Ponche de Leona and has a "Large curved star, open to left and connected bordered narrowing stripe, extending to left and becoming thin in center of face on bottom, slightly widening to left above nostrils, ending to left between nostrils, into left nostril." He also has white marks on his left hind and right front ankles.

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8. Tonalist

This strapping son of Tapit out of the Pleasant Colony mare Settling Mist spoiled California Chrome's bid for the Triple Crown. Officially, he's a bay with a "Large star slightly pointed to right, extending over left eye and connected stripe, narrowing and ending on bridge of nose; patch of white hairs to left on upper lip" and a half-stocking on his right hind leg.

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9. Wise Dan

One of the most decorated horses in the history of racing - six Eclipse Awards including back-to-back Horse of the Year titles - the blue collar pedigreed son of Wiseman's Ferry out of the Wolf Power mare Lisa Danielle has a "Star pointed to right and connected stripe, ending in a point slightly to left above nostrils; thin faint snip to left between nostrils" and white on three of his four ankles.

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10. Willcox Inn

A multiple graded stakes winning son of Harlan's Holiday out of the Gone West mare De Aar is a dark bay with a "Large irregular pointed star and connected narrow mixed stripe, becoming thin low on bridge of nose, widening, becoming bordered flesh colored and ending between nostrils; faint patch of white hairs on upper lip." He also has white markings on both hind and right front ankles.

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Honorable mention...
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11. Hansen

I always called this beautiful gray Tapit colt out of the Sir Cat mare Stormy Sunday "The Unicorn" for his near-white appearance. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have markings: "Large star extending over right eye and connected stripe, becoming bordered flesh colored on bridge of nose, narrowing slightly above nostrils, widening between nostrils, narrowing and ending in a point below nostrils; flesh colored patch on upper lip; large flesh colored patch to left on lower lip, extending on under lip" as well as white on three feet.

Who would you put on the list?
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