To own a racehorse, entrust it to a trainer licensed by the Japan Racing Association (JRA) and enter it in races, the owner must be registered with the JRA.
The conditions, procedures and other details related to obtaining registration as an owner are summarized below. Please refer to these if you wish to apply. Please also note that the application documents and registration requirements are different for owners resident in Japan. Details in this case will be found on the Japanese-language website (http://jra.jp/owner/index.html).
Applications for owner registration need to be accompanied by a large number of documents. While we appreciate how difficult it is to gather all these documents, we hope you will understand that this process is necessary to ensure rigorous screening of applications.
Horseracing operated by the JRA is subject to special rules, many of which may differ from the rules governing racing overseas. We would therefore ask you to read and acquaint yourself with the "Guide to Application for JRA Owner Registration (for Non-Residents of Japan)" and the "FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about the Japan Racing Association racing rules" before applying.
When you apply for owner registration, the application documents will need to be drawn together by a liaison officer (candidate) with a domicile in Japan, who should then bring your application to the JRA Main Office. Please understand that all JRA communication regarding your application will basically be made through your liaison officer.
A summary of how to apply for owner registration can be found here.
Guide to Application for JRA Owner Registration (for Non-Residents of Japan)
(updated on September 2015)
Notification to Determine Matters Related to a Liaison Officer for an Owner who is a Non-Residents of Japan
(updated on November 16, 2012)
Screening standards for owner registration can be found here.
A summary of JRA owner activity can be found here.
*We will send you all the details concerning documents needed when applying for owner registration and approval of liaison officers (JRA designated forms). If you wish to apply, the person nominated as your liaison officer should first contact the JRA Owner Registration Section. Inquiries concerning owner registration should also be directed here.
JRA Owner Registration Section / e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about the Japan Racing Association racing rules
(updated on September 2015)
On thoroughbred breeding in Japan, and purchasing Japanese-bred horses
- How many thoroughbreds are bred in Japan, and where are they mainly bred?
- About 6,800 horses were bred in Japan. The largest breeding area is Hidaka in Hokkaido, where more than 80% of all Japanese horses are bred.
- How and where can I buy thoroughbred horses?
- There are currently two main methods of trading horses in Japan. One of them is for horses to be bought and sold at public auction sales. The other is private sales where the purchase price is decided through direct negotiation between the seller, i.e. the breeder, and the purchaser, i.e. the owner.
- What is an Auction Sales?
- An auction sale is a livestock market for thoroughbreds based on the Livestock Market Law. There are different auction sales for foals, yearlings and two-year-olds. For two-year-olds, "horses in training sales" is most popular, in which training demonstrations are held before going to auction. Auction sales are usually held between the beginning of May and October in Hokkaido, Aomori, Chiba and Kyushu. Contact the address below via your Liaison Officer for detailed schedules and other information.
Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association
3rd Floor, JRA Shimbashi Branch, 4-5-4 Shimbashi,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 〒105-0004 (Tel: 03-5473-7091)
- What is the fee and steps for pre-training horses?
- Training fees in private farms (facilities not supervised by JRA trainers) vary, depending on the content of the training, the level of facility, the proficiency of training personnel and other factors.
The content of training includes initial breaking-in (such as pasturing, dietary management, bridling and saddling), and mounted exercise.
On foal registration, horse name registration and racehorse registration
- How do I register my horse's pedigree?
- Foal registrations are carried out by The Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book (JAIRS). You must first submit documents including the dam's breeding registration certificate and the covering certificate, then undergo identification (marking confirmation) tests of your horse which is held in the breeding area. After this, the horse is registered and a certificate of foal registration is issued.
For imported horses, you should apply for registration within 90 days of landing in Japan. When doing so, you need to submit the export certificate or foal registration certificate issued by a pedigree registering authority in the country of birth or the exporting country.
For further details, please contact the following via your Liaison Officer.
The Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book（JAIRS）:
c/o JRA Shimbashi Branch,
4-5-4 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
〒105-0004 Tel: 03-3434-5315
- How do I go about registering my horse's name?
- Like foal registration, horse name review and registration are also undertaken by JAIRS. When applying for the registration, you will need to submit a copy of the foal registration certificate and an application for horse name registration.
Horse names are registered using the name written in letters of the Roman alphabet (limited to a maximum of 18 letters, among other restrictions imposed by the Agreement for Breeding, Racing and Wagering issued by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities) and the phonetic representation in katakana syllabic script (limited to a maximum of 9 characters, among other restrictions). As such, foreign-bred horses that already have a name at the time of export, or horses with names originally represented in letters of the alphabet, will need to have their names phonetically converted to katakana.
Unlimited horse name changes can be made free of charge before the horse is registered as a racehorse with the JRA or NAR (municipal government racing). However, for foreign-bred horses that already have names at the time of export, changes need to be approved by a registering authority in the country of birth. After registering a racehorse with the JRA, a single change is permitted before the horse runs in JRA or NAR (municipal government racing) or overseas racing. The registration fee for horse name changes in such cases is 5,000 yen.
Horse name registration must be complete by the time the horse is initially stabled at a JRA Training Center. Once horse name registration is complete, a "Notice of Horse Name Registration" is sent to the applicant. This Notice should be kept in a safe place, as it will be needed when undergoing racehorse registration.
- What is the procedure for racehorse registration?
- For a horse to be entered in JRA races, the horse must first be registered as a racehorse with JRA.
Horses that cannot be registered as racehorses include horses used for breeding purposes, horses imported duty-free for use outside horseracing, horses without implanted microchips, and horses with blindness in one or both eyes.
To register a racehorse, an application form must be submitted to the Miho or Ritto Training Center via the appointed trainer, accompanied by a registration fee of 5,000 yen. When applying, a Notice of Horse Name Registration issued by JAIRS must be attached, as well as a number of documents needed to confirm ownership rights. Among others, these include a declaration of horse ownership (requires the owner's signature and the Liaison Officer's registered name seal), the Liaison Officer's name-seal registration certificate, a copy of the horse purchase agreement and a certificate of foal registration.
- What is the procedure if I jointly own a racehorse?
- At the present time, the JRA does not permit joint ownership of registered racehorses by owners not domiciled in Japan. Registered racehorses must be owned 100% by the registering owner.
- What is the procedure if I want to sell (or transfer) a racehorse to another owner?
- When ownership of a stabled horse is transferred to another owner, a copy of the horse purchase agreement (in the case of sale) or the transfer certificate (in the case of transfer) must be filed with the Miho or Ritto Training Center via the appointed trainer. In such cases, the new owner's declaration of horse ownership and name-seal registration certificate must also be submitted at the same time.
When an owner's registered racehorse is sold (or transferred) to a person who is not a JRA owner, the horse is no longer able to run in races. If the situation remains unchanged after 60 days, the registration will be deregistered.
- Can I loan my owner registration to other people to race their horses in JRA races?
- The Horse Racing Law specifies that only JRA registered owners may enter horses in JRA races.
Therefore, for a registered owner to loan the registered owner name to an another person who is not registered, and to allow that person to falsely register a racehorse and enter races as if it belonged to the registered owner, would be deemed "nominal transfer" ditto with owning a horse jointly with a person not registered as an owner.
Not only are such acts strictly prohibited, but also any owner or trainer who are party to such acts may be punished with cancellation of their owner registration or trainer's license.
Your attention is also drawn to other cases treated as constituting "nominal transfer". These include cases in which an individual owner registers a horse owned by a corporation that is operated by that individual (or capitalized, or operated by a relative, etc.) as an individually owned racehorse and enters it in races, or cases in which financial details concerning an individually owned racehorse are processed within corporate accounts.
- Can I enter a loaned horse in a race?
- A horse may only be registered as a racehorse if its owner has acquired "ownership rights". Furthermore, registering a horse that has been temporarily loaned on the basis of a rental or lease contract as your racehorse, and entering such horse in races would also be regarded as an act of "nominal transfer". Please be aware such act will be subject to severe penalties.
On the system of stabling at JRA facilities, and other related matters
- What is the life cycle of racehorses in Japanese racing?
- After thoroughbred horses are born and traded to owners, they first spend a period in yearling training farms before being stabled with the appointed trainer at the Training Center (Miho or Ritto). The JRA's Maiden races are scheduled for two year old horses after June. After retiring from the JRA races, horses are sent for breeding purposes or transferred to NAR tracks (municipal government racing) or pleasure horse riding, etc. depending on their suitability and career record as the racehorses, among other factors.
- Do registered racehorses always have to be stabled at the JRA facilities such as racecourses and training centers?
- To enter a horse in JRA races, the owner must first conclude an entrustment agreement with a trainer licensed by the JRA.
Also, before starting in a race, the first time starter in JRA races must be stabled at the JRA facilities for 15 days prior to the race and similarly 10 days for those in the second start onward.
- What are the methods and procedures to stable the horses at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers?
- Owners may, by concluding an entrustment agreement with a trainer, stable their horses to the stables leased to the trainer by JRA. The time of entry into the stables depends on the horse's training status, among other factors.
- Can the JRA recommend trainers?
- Unfortunately, the JRA is not in the position to recommend or introduce trainers to an owner. The most common case for an owner to meet trainer is that trainers are introduced by the thoroughbred breeding farms or Auction Sales companies. Details such as trainers' career records can be checked on the JRA's websites.
◎ JRA website address (Japanese version) http://jra.jp ◎ JRA website address (English version) http://japanracing.jp/
- What are the obligations of owners under the possession of the racehorses? Can these obligations be delegated to the trainer or other person?
- To enter their horses in races, owners must conclude an entrustment agreement with a trainer licensed by the JRA, then complete the racehorse registration.
Owners normally delegate matters in three areas related to their horses - the declaration to run, stakes nomination, and veterinary treatment - to their trainers, who act as their agents.
- If problems arise with my trainer, does the JRA intervene to find a solution?
- If a problem arises between an owner and the appointed trainer of the owner's horse, the matter should basically be resolved between the two parties.
- What expenses accrue for keeping racehorses in training at JRA facilities?
- The training fees paid to trainers mainly consist of horse feed costs, stable staff salaries and stakes nomination fees. The average monthly outgoings per horse are around 600,000 yen. Other fees payable besides these include fees for veterinary treatment of racehorses, and transportation fees when the horse is transported outside JRA facilities.
Of these costs, fees for veterinary treatment are subsidized by the "JRA Owners' Mutual Association". Also, the cost of transportation between the Miho or Ritto Training Center and racecourses for participating in races is covered by JRA.
- How long are quarantine and compulsory stabling prior to the races?
- When stabling horses to the JRA facility, horses must always undergo import quarantine. Also, before starting in a race, the first time starter in JRA races must be stabled at the JRA facilities for 15 days prior to the race and similarly 10 days for those in the second start onward.
- Is there a limit to the number of horses that can be entrusted to a trainer?
- At present, the JRA has 4,100 horse stalls at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers combined. The number of stalls leased to each trainer is determined annually by the JRA.
The number of horses that can be entrusted to each trainer is determined by the number of stalls leased. Trainers are not permitted to accept entrustments for racehorses beyond this number.
- What are the roles for stable keepers supervised by the trainer?
- The trainer manages stable work including feeding and nutrition management, breaking in, training and grooming of the horse as well as other various procedures related to the horse. Besides this, trainer also manages and instructs training assistants and grooms who work with the trainer. Jockeys also take part in daily training.
- If my horse is injured during racing or training, what kind of action will be taken?
- Depending on the severity and the place of the injury, the horse will receive appropriate treatment at the racehorse clinics in Miho or Ritto Training Center and the racecourses. If a horse suffers a severe illness or injury, the horse may be humanely destroyed, with the consent of the trainer.
In the event of unforeseen accidents to racehorses occur at JRA facilities, "racehorse injury consolation money" is available in accordance with JRA regulations.
- What is a racehorse clinic?
- As well as the Miho and Ritto Training Centers, each racecourse has a racehorse clinic managed by the JRA. Horses registered with the JRA may, when stabled in JRA facilities, can receive necessary medical treatment or shoeing when ill, injured or in need for hoof shedding. The fee such treatment in JRA facilities are charged via the trainer based on uniform national standards.
Other roles carried out by the racehorse clinics, from the perspective of veterinary medicine, includes regulating treatment, controlling prohibited substances and physically examining horses about to run in races, with a view to upholding the integrity that is fundamental to horseracing.
Bearing in mind the potential hazards of collective racehorse management, the clinics also carry out disinfection, vaccination and other quarantine work, to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In particular, entrance quarantine is most important work in terms of preventing the introduction of pathogens. Before a horse can enter JRA facilities, whether for the first time or in repeat stabling, the horses must undergo this quarantine inspection.
Besides JRA's own clinics, there are individually practicing veterinarians who carry out clinical examinations at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers.
- What is racehorse injury consolation payment?
- This is a payment made to the owners of racehorses registered with the JRA when unforeseen accidents occur inside JRA facilities. The types of accident for which consolation money is paid and the amount of consolation money paid are set out in provisions determined by the JRA Owners' Mutual Association. The level of payment is determined by the degree of accident which range from the death of a horse during a racing accident, to a temporary layoff owing to illness.
Besides this, the JRA Owners' Mutual Association also subsidizes the cost of clinical examination and shoeing.
For further details, please contact one of the following via your Liaison Officer.
JRA Owners' Mutual Association:
3rd Floor No.6 Toyokaiji Building
4-7-25 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 〒105-0004
Miho Training Center, 2500-2 Oaza-Mikoma,
Miho-mura, Inashiki-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture 〒300-0493
Tel: 029-885-2111 (TC general line)
Ritto Training Center, 1028 Misono,
Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture 〒520-3085
Tel: 077-558-0101 (TC general line)
On Race Programs and Racing Calendar
- How often does the JRA hold race meetings?
- Ordinances of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries stipulate that race meetings may be held no more than 36 times a year, with a limit of 12 days per meeting (and 12 races per day). This makes a cumulative maximum of 288 race days per year over the ten JRA racecourses. As a basic rule, races are held on Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese public holidays.
In fiscal 2014, there were 36 race meetings, 288 race days and 3,451 races in all.
- What are "JRA Supplementary Rules"?
- Rules on convening races are stipulated in the Horse Racing Law, Horse Racing Law Enforcement Order, Horse Racing Law Enforcement Regulations and the JRA Rules of Racing, among others. Besides these, supplementary rules specifying detailed matters necessary when implementing races are set out in "Racing Programs", supplements to the JRA official bulletin. These supplementary rules specify conditions for eligibility to run in races, maximum numbers of starters, various types of prize money and other matters.
As these supplementary rules are amended from time to time, Liaison Officers should keep up to date with the Racing Programs and explain these rules and changes to owners.
- When are Race Programs announced?
- Racecourses, dates of race meetings, the types and conditions of various races held in accordance with the Rules of Racing, and other related matters are specified in Racing Programs published in the JRA's official bulletin. The program for Graded races is announced in late October of the previous year, the spring Racing Program (races held between January and May) in early November of the previous year, the summer Racing Program (races held between June and September) in the middle of April, and the autumn Racing Program (races held between September and December) in early August.
- What are the types and classes of the race?
- The JRA currently holds two types of race: Thoroughbred flat races and Thoroughbred steeplechase races. (The JRA does not hold harness racing.) The races are further categorized according to earnings, as a measure of horse's racing performance, with the aim of matching horses with similar ability and thereby enhancing competition. Taking the example of Thoroughbred flat races, spring races are divided into those for three-year-olds and four-year-olds and up, and races from summer onwards are divided into those for two-year-olds and three-year-olds and up. In each category, race classes become more advanced as earnings increase, from newcomers / maidens → earning up to 5 million yen → earning up to 10 million yen → earning up to 16 million yen → open class.
- What is the "Earnings"?
- Earnings are an amount for race eligibility calculated via prize money of race in which a horse has finished 1st (and 2nd in graded races). Categories of the race class are determined on the basis of these earnings.
- What are plate races, stakes races and graded races?
- Plate races are all races other than stakes races.
Stakes races are races that require stakes nomination. For these, the nomination fee stated in the Racing Program must be paid upon nomination.
Graded races are stakes races in which the amount of prize money and caliber of entrants is highest. These are indicated on the List of Graded Races. Depending on the importance of the race, Thoroughbred flat races are classified into Gr. I, Gr. II and Gr. III races, and Thoroughbred steeplechase races into J-G I, J-G II and J-G III races.
- What is the grading system on Group/Graded races?
- To clarify the varying importance of different races, Grades are assigned to flat races and steeplechase races, respectively, depending on prize money, weight carried, history and tradition, race quality and other factors. Flat races are classified into Gr. I, Gr. II, and Gr. III by the Japanese Graded Race Committee. Steeplechase races, are graded into J-GI, J-GII and J-GIII races.
Gr. I races (including J-GI) are, in principle, races at the very pinnacle of the sport, designed to produce the champion horses over each distance category. They also have very great significance as indicators for horse breeding. Gr. II races (including J-GII) are second in importance to Gr. I races, and are relatively easy to enter for the winners of Gr. I races. Gr. III races (including J-GIII) are basically a step towards Gr. I and Gr. II races. Races for 3(4)-year-olds and up are subject to a variety of conditions, including qualification, weight carried and distance.
- What are special weight races and handicap races?
- Racing programs divide races into three categories of weight carried: Weight For Age (WFA), Special Weight and Handicap. In the WFA category, the weight is determined by the age of the horse, as the name suggests. Special weight is determined by a combination of factors besides the horse's age, including its sex, earnings and number of wins. Handicaps are weights that are artificially increased or decreased for each horse in accordance with its racing performance. Handicap races are designed to give each horse an equal opportunity to win.
All Gr. I (J-GI) races are held on the basis of the horse's age or a fixed weight (i.e. of Special Weights, only those decided by age and sex). Handicap races consist of stakes races and Gr. II races the category for the horses with earnings of 10 million yen.
- Are there any races a horse is not eligible to enter by its past performance?
- Maidens (horses that have yet to enter a race) and novices (horses that have yet to win a race) are not allowed to enter the races with 16 million yen earnings, or most open class races.
Besides this, three-year-old thoroughbred maidens and novices may not enter flat races in the 5th meetings at Tokyo, Nakayama, Kyoto and Hanshin at 2015 (the four principal racecourses), while thoroughbred maidens and novices aged four and up as well as those aged 6 and up with earnings of no more than 2 million yen may not enter flat races at the four principal racecourses.
- How are the numbers of runners (post positions) decided?
- The post numbers assigned to runners in the various races, with the exception of some Gr. I races in which numbers are assigned by public lottery, are decided automatically by computer. Similarly, the horses selected to run when the number of declared entrants exceeds the safety factor are also decided by computer.
The post positions at the starting gate are the same as the numbers outlined above, starting with number 1 on the inside of the track and proceeding towards the outside.
The JRA has no system of "also eligible" runners. In other words, horses are never brought forward to a race, even when a runner is withdrawn after the entries and post positions are made public.
- Can horses registered with the JRA also take part in NAR (municipal government racing) races?
- Yes, but only in NAR-JRA exchange races. In 2014, a total of 206 of these races were held at 13 provincial racecourses. These consisted of 40 Graded dirt races and 166 conditional exchange races.
- How do I enter my horse in the NAR (municipal government racing) exchange races?
- Normally, applications to take part in NAR exchange races are accepted on Sunday of the week before the race is to be held (for Graded races, this is normally Sunday two weeks before the race). As with the declaration to run, applications are made by the owner's appointed trainer. If, as a result of the nomination, the number of prospective entrants exceeds the permitted number of starters in the race, eligibility to start becomes subject for draw.
On race entry and other related matters
- Is horse's training condition checked before a horse can be entered in a race?
- Horses are trained under the supervision of a trainer. The horse must be trained in JRA facilities (training centers and racecourses) at least 15 days leading to before the first JRA race and also pass an examination for training fitness conducted by the JRA official veterinarian. While the examination covers the horse's training as a whole, the starting gate examination is especially important. Horses entering steeplechase races for the first time are also required to take a steeplechase training examination. Besides these, horses that have been ordered to retake the examination of their training fitness by the Stewards as a result of the race may not enter races until they have passed the re-examination.
- How can I enter my horse in a race?
- The trainer who has been entrusted with the horse by its owner is responsible for making an application for race entry (a "declaration to run") on behalf of the owner. Trainer selects appropriate race by judging the horse's fitness, training condition and a jockey. In other words, the owners per se are not directly involved in the procedure for entering horses in races.
The declaration to run is normally made between mid-day and 3pm on the Thursday before the race. This can be done at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers .During the summer season, this can be also done at the Hakodate and Sapporo racecourses.
When a horse is to be entered in a stakes race, stakes nomination must be made in addition to the above procedure. Stakes nomination is normally accepted on Sunday of the week before the race (two weeks before, in the case of GI races).
- What is the declaration (stakes nomination) fee?
- Owners must pay a declaration (stakes nomination) fee stipulated in the Racing Program when nominating their horses in stakes races. The declaration (stakes nomination) fee applies to the five major stakes races for three-year-old thoroughbreds, as well as other Graded races and stakes races, and is commensurate with the Grade of the race. The purpose of this is to ensure that races are contested by horses with ability befitting those races. The fees levied through nomination are awarded to owners as stakes money for horses finishing 1st to 3rd in each race, at a ratio of 7: 2: 1.
- What must I do if I want to withdraw my horse from a race?
- The JRA does not permit horses to be withdrawn from a race once the entry list has been finalized, except under exceptional circumstances (injury or illness) declared by JRA official veterinarian and steward.
* Weather and track conditions do not constitute grounds for withdrawal from a race.
On prize money
- What kinds of prize money or other earnings are available to owners?
- Prize money consists of the added money stipulated in the Racing Program, the distance bonus, the Japanese-bred thoroughbred bonus, the participation incentive money and stakes money. Besides these, special participation allowances are also paid to owners who enter their horses in races.
- What is the added money?
- This is the total prize money recorded in the added money column of a Racing Program. This is the amount paid to the owners of horses finishing 1st to 5th in a race. The allocation ratio in all races is 100: 40: 25: 15: 10, in descending order of placing.
- What is the distance bonus?
- This is a bonus paid to the owners of the horses finishing 1st to 8th in flat races over a distance of 1,800 meters or more, held on turf courses in the races for horses with designated earnings up to 5 million yen (limited to the stakes races), 10 million yen, 16 million yen and open races (excluding graded races).
- What is the Japanese-bred thoroughbred bonus?
- This is a bonus paid to the owners of Japanese-bred thoroughbreds finishing 1st to 5th in newcomer and maiden flat races, in accordance with the category of race entered.
The bonus is also paid to the owners of Japanese-bred fillies finishing 1st in newcomer and maiden races, except for races limited to fillies only.
- What is the participation incentive money?
- This is an amount paid to the owners of horses finishing 6th to 8th in a race. The amount is calculated by multiplying the purse for 1st place by a separately stipulated ratio. However, the bonus is only paid if the horse crosses the finish line within the times specified after the winning horse has completed the course, and in certain other cases.
- What is the special participation allowance?
- This is an allowance paid to owners of horses entered in races, determined in accordance with the category of race. The allowance may be reduced in value or not paid at all as a result of race conditions and other factors.
- What is the breeding farm bonus?
- This is a bonus awarded to domestic breeding farms, the aim being to encourage improvements to breeding facilities and ensure a high quality of racehorse population.
When a thoroughbred horse finishes in 1st to 5th place in a flat races and Steeplechase graded races (down to 3rd in flat plate races) , the bonus is awarded to the breeding farm that had the necessary equipment for breeding and breeding thoroughbreds at the time the horse was born, and was responsible for stabling the horse's dam. Further, to earn the bonus, the said farm must be registered as the breeder in the Japanese Stud Book and still have the necessary equipment for breeding, and stabling thoroughbreds, as well as rearing mares for the purpose of breeding, and still be engaged in breeding thoroughbreds. However, no payment is made when the horse in question is a foreign-bred horses.
- What is the broodmare owner's bonus?
- To encourage a high quality of racehorse population, this bonus is awarded to domestic breeding farms, or owners who are currently registered with the JRA, with the aim of encouraging continuous ownership and purchase of superior broodmares.
When a thoroughbred horse finishes in 1st to 5th place in a flat races and Steeplechase graded races (down to 3rd in flat plate races), the bonus is awarded to the breeder or JRA-registered owner who owned the horse's dam at the time when the horse was born and registered as the breeder in the Japanese Stud Book. To earn the bonus, the said breeder must still have the necessary equipment for breeding and stabling thoroughbreds, as well as rearing mares for the purpose of breeding, and must still be engaged in breeding thoroughbreds and the said owner must still be registered with JRA. However, no payment is made when the horse in question is a foreign-bred horse.
- What is the prize money paid to the trainer, jockey and stable personnel?
- It is a sum of money paid by an owner to the supervising trainer, jockey, and other stable-related personnel, as a reward for success when a horse entrusted by the owner has won prize money in a race.
- How is the prize money paid?
- All race prize money and other earnings are transferred in yen to a Japanese bank account designated by the owner in advance. Transfers are normally becomes effective on the Monday after the race, and a remittance notice is also sent to the Liaison Officer in Japan. When transferring the money, the percentage of stakes to the trainer, jockey and stable personnel is deducted in advance.
The bank account designated for transfers must be in the name of the owner. Please contact the JRA Owner Registration Section if you need further information about bank account in Japan and also if there is any change in the designated bank account and other related matters.
- Can the prize money transferred to an overseas bank account?
- Transfers can only be made to a Japanese bank account in the owner's name. (The account may be in the Japanese branch of a foreign bank.) The same applies when JRA owner enters a foreign-trained horse in an international exchange race. To open an account in a Japanese bank, the applicant is usually expected to travel to Japan and verify signature in person.
- What is the system of taxation on prize money and other earnings?
- Japanese tax law is applicable to race prize money and other earnings received by non-resident owners in Japan. Specifically, the decision whether such earnings are subject to domestic taxation is based on the content of the owner's activities in Japan, such as whether the owner has an agent or properties including horse farms and offices. Also, there may be differences in the tax status due to tax treaties between Japan and the owner's country of domicile. For further details, please check with your local tax office through your Liaison Officer. (The office for tax payment is the local tax office if the owner has an office or other facilities in Japan, or the Kojimachi Tax Office, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo in all other cases.)
- What prizes or other earnings are available when taking part in NAR races (municipal government racing)?
- When a JRA-registered horse enters a NAR (municipal government racing) exchange race and the amount of prize money awarded by the promoter is less than the standard award in a JRA race under the same conditions, the shortfall may be supplemented by the JRA at a later date.
However, graded races are not covered by such awards.
- What is the owner's prize?
- The owners of winning horses of all stakes races and newcomers/maiden flat races will be presented prizes, and all winning owners for all races will be presented a commemorative DVD recording of the race. If the owner is not present at the racecourse in person, these prizes are handed (or sent) to Liaison Officers in Japan.
- Is the prize also subject to tax?
- Under Japan's tax law, prizes received in Japan by a non-resident owner are also subject to domestic taxation when the owner's race prize money and other earnings inside Japan are deemed subject to taxation.
While the valuation for tax purposes depends on the type of prize, an amount corresponding to about 40%-60% of the purchase price is generally taken as the tax valuation. For prizes awarded in JRA races, a list of valuations in the previous year is sent to Liaison Officers at around the end of January every year.
On disqualifications, demotions and sanctions
- When would a horse be disqualified from a race?
- Disqualifications are decided by the race steward in accordance with the Rules of Racing. Grounds for disqualification could include when the horse has interfered with another horse in a race, when drugs or other substances have been used either to temporarily enhance or reduce the horse's racing performance, when the horse has not run on its own merits for no good reason, or when the weight between weighing-out and weighing-in has lost more than 1kg (except in cases deemed unavoidable by the Steward). If a horse is disqualified, prize money and other earnings will not be awarded.
- What is demotion?
- If a horse obstructs another horse's course during race, the placing of the offending horse will be demoted to a placing behind the obstructed horse. If the obstructed horse is prevented from completing the race, the offending horse will be disqualified.
- What are prohibited substances?
- Since racing combines the two aspects of sport and gambling, it is vital that its integrity is upheld at all times. A number of rules have been established to ensure this, since it is an essential condition that all horses entering a race should run on their own merits. In racing, however, it is prohibited to use drugs or other substances to temporarily enhance or reduce a horse's racing performance. Drugs that have an effect on the physiological functions of horses are defined as prohibited substances in the Rules of Racing. If such substances are detected in the post race test, the horse will be disqualified from the race, penalties will be applied in accordance with the Horse Racing Law, the responsible party will be banned or suspended from involvement in racing, and no prize money and other earnings will be paid.
- What is objection/protest for race interference?
- If a horse's owner, trainer or jockey judges that the horse has suffered interference during a race, they may make an objection/protest of interference to the race steward, but only before the race result is made official. Objections/protest must be made in writing, accompanied by a guarantee of 30,000 yen. The race steward then passes a ruling on the objection/protest, and notifies the petitioner of the result. If an objection/protest of interference is rejected, the petitioner may file appeal within two days after the date on which the ruling was made.
If an objection/protest is ultimately rejected, the guarantee will not be returned.
Please note that the Liaison Officer of a non-resident owner may not make an objection/protest of interference.
- What is the system for filing appeals?
- The system for filing appeals is that, after the race result is made official, an appeal may be made against (1) rulings of disqualification or demotion, and sanctions accompanying these, (2) rejection of an objection/protest of interference, and (3) a ruling of retroactive disqualification.
The person who may appeal is the horse's owner, trainer and jockey in cases (1) and (3), and the owner, trainer or jockey who made an objection/protest of interference in case (2). Please note that the Liaison Officer of a non-resident owner may not make an objection/protest of interference.
The time allowed for appeals in cases (1) and (2) is two days after the date on which the respective ruling was made. In case (3), appeals may be made up to thirty days after the date of the ruling. In each case, the appeal must be made in writing to the Board of Appeal, accompanied by a guarantee of 100,000 yen. If an appeal is ultimately rejected, the guarantee will not be returned.
If the appeal is accepted, the disqualification or demotion will be rescinded or a new disqualification or demotion imposed on another horse. As a result, the placings will be changed, and prize money and other earnings will be re-assessed and re-issued. If the placing of the winning horse (and the 2nd-placed horse, in graded races) is changed, earnings will also change. However, this will not affect the status of winning pari-mutuel bets.
- What is disqualification after the official order of placing (retroactive disqualification)?
- This is a system whereby, if (1) the use of prohibited substances, etc., (2) a failure to let the horse run on its own merits, or (3) an illegal agreement is discovered within five years after the date on which a race was held, the horse in question will be disqualified.
Rulings of retroactive disqualification are made by the Board of Appeal. If a ruling of retroactive disqualification is made, the placings of the horses finishing behind the disqualified horse are each moved up by one place. In this case, prize money and other earnings will be re-assessed and re-issued, and in some cases earnings will also change. An owner subject to retroactive disqualification cannot enter any racehorses in races unless the respective prize money and other earnings are returned within a designated period. Appeals against rulings of retroactive disqualification may be filed with the President of the JRA within thirty days of the date of the ruling. Those without a domicile in Japan should do this through their Liaison Officer. Whatever the outcome, this process will not affect winning pari-mutuel bets.
- What is "time over"?
- "Time over" occurs when a horse fails to cross the finish line within a specific number of seconds after the winning horse has completed the race. Horses running in flat races other than Graded races and international invitation races, as well as other races specified in Racing Programs, may not run in flat races for the period specified in Table 2 below, counting from the day after the race, if they fail to cross the finish line within the time specified in Table 1 below after the winning horse has completed the course. However, this does not apply to cases deemed unavoidable by the race steward.
Distance Flat races not specified
in the next two columns
Newcomer races 3-yr-old maiden races in 3rd
meetings at Niigata,
4th meeting at Hanshin
Turf courses Dirt courses Turf courses Dirt courses Turf courses Dirt courses Less than 1,400m 3 sec. 4 sec. 4 sec. 5 sec. 3 sec. 4 sec. 1,400m –
less than 2,000m
4 sec. 5 sec. 5 sec. 6 sec. 2,000m or more 5 sec. 6 sec. 6 sec. 7 sec. 4 sec. 5 sec.
Maidens First time over: 1 month, 2nd: 2 months, 3rd onwards: 3 months Other horses 1 month
- What are the restrictions on entering blind horses and the horses that bled?
- Normally, horses that are blind in one or both eyes cannot enter races. However, horses that become blind in one eye after being registered as racehorses with the JRA may enter flat races only. Meanwhile, horses that bleeds (except when due to external injury) while running in races as JRA registered racehorses may not enter races for 1 month after the race on the first occasion, 2 months on the second occasion, and 3 months from the third occasion onwards, respectively.
On racehorse retirement
- What happens to a horse after its racehorse registration has been deregistered?
- When a horse is no longer registered with JRA, it must be withdrawn from JRA facilities. Such horse's future activities are subject to decisions reached between the owner and the trainer. Among others, the horse are transferred to breeding or pleasure riding purposes or transferred to NAR (municipal government racing).
As in France and some other countries, there are some culture exists in certain part of Japan of consuming horsemeat part of the diet. Sometimes, body parts of retired racehorses may be used as ingredients for certain processed foods. It is very important for owners of racehorses in Japan to be aware of these facts.
- What should I do to register my horse with NAR (municipal government racing)?
- The JRA's organization differs from NAR (municipal government racing); their systems of registering owners and horses, and licensing trainers and jockeys, are separate from JRA. Therefore, if you wish to register your horse with NAR, you will first need to obtain owner registration with NAR.
At the present time, however, the registration authority responsible for municipal government racing, the National Association of Racing (NAR), does not accept applications for owner registration from persons without a domicile in Japan. Therefore, non-resident owners are not able to register their racehorses with NAR.
- What is the procedure for retiring the horse for the breeding purposes?
- In Japan, it is not permitted for a horse to be used simultaneously for racing and breeding. To use your horse for a breeding purpose, therefore, you will first need to deregister its racehorse registration. Broodmares must undergo breeding registration with JAIRS. Stallions must also follow this procedure, but must additionally undergo breeding stock inspection carried out by municipal authorities. For further details, please contact the following via your Liaison Officer.
The Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book (JAIRS):
c/o JRA Shimbashi Branch,
4-5-4 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
〒105-0004 Tel: 03-3434-5315
On sundry rules for race meetings, and other related matters
- What areas may I access at racecourses during a race meeting?
- You may access racecourses free of charge on presentation of your owner's ID badge. You may also use the owners' car park.
Areas accessible by owners, besides the general areas, are the Racecourse Office and stable area. You may only enter the parade ring when your horse is due to run in the race. In any case, you will be required to present your owner's ID badge.
When wishing to enter these areas, owners and their Liaison Officers should follow the instructions of racecourse personnel.
- Can Liaison Officers enter racecourses freely?
- Liaison Officers can enter all areas accessible by owners. However, they may not use the owners' car park.
- How are commemorative photographs with the winning horse arranged?
- If your horse wins a race, you are permitted to take commemorative photographs. Photo sessions usually take place in the winner's circle (or on the track, for some races), where the owner and accompanying persons, together with the trainer and other personnel, take picture with the winning horse. In the case of stakes races, an awards ceremony is held after the photo session.
Liaison Officers may represent owners at both the commemorative photo session and the awards ceremony.
- Is there any award ceremony for Group/Graded and stakes races?
- An awards ceremony for the stakes race is usually held in the winner's circle (or, in wet weather, sometimes inside the stand), where awards are handed to the owner as well as trainer, jockey, groom and breeder of the winning horse.
Meanwhile, at Gr. I races, J-GI races and the most distinguished Graded races at each racecourse, the awards ceremony is held on the track. For the "Breeder" award, it is not the broodmare owner but a representative of the breeding farm who takes the podium and receives the award.
Incidentally, there is no custom of asking owners to make speeches or give interviews at awards ceremonies.
- I would like to use a pseudonym as my owner's name. Is that possible?
- Basically, a name other than the real name cannot be used to register the owner's name; the real name will also appear in the Racing Program and race result. However, performers, authors and others active in Japan whose stage names or pen-names are widely recognized are sometimes allowed to use those names.
If you wish to use a name other than your real name, you must submit an application to the Miho or Ritto Training Center via your appointed trainer, accompanied by an assumed name utilization fee of 5,000 yen.
- Where can I find information about the JRA racing on the Internet?
- The JRA website is packed full of useful information on JRA races, including lists of entrants, race results, payouts and other information on race meet days, as well as a guide to JRA facilities, FAQ, and various data files. If you would like to access these information, please have a look at the JRA websites detailed below.
◎ JRA website address (Japanese version) http://jra.jp ◎ JRA website address (English version) http://japanracing.jp/
- How many owners are registered with the JRA?
- As of January 1st, 2015 there were 2,335 registered owners, of whom 1,988 were individual owners.
【Ref. 】Addresses of JRA racecourses and other facilities
Name Address Tel. Head Office 6-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku,
03-3591-5251 Kansai Media and Publicity Office 19F, Aqua Dojima NBF Tower, 1-4-16 Dojimahama,
Kita-ku, Osaka City 〒530-0004
06-7636-2860 Equestrian Park Kami-Yoga 2-1-1, Setagaya-ku,
03-3429-5101 Horse Racing School 835-1 Ne, Shiroi City,
Chiba Prefecture, 〒270-1431
047-491-0333 Equine Research Institute 321-4 Tokami-cho, Utsunomiya City,
Tochigi Prefecture 〒320-0856
028-647-0650 Hidaka Training and Research Center 535-13 Nishicha, Urakawa-cho, Urakawa-gun,
0146-28-1211 Miyazaki Yearling Training Farm 2347 Ohara, Hanagashima-cho, Miyazaki City,
Miyazaki Prefecture 〒880-0036
0985-25-3448 Ritto Training Center 1028 Misono, Ritto City,
Shiga Prefecture 〒520-3085
077-558-0101 Miho Training Center 2500-2 Oaza-Mikoma, Miho-mura, Inashiki-gun,
Ibaraki Prefecture 〒300-0493
029-885-2111 Sapporo Racecourse 16-1-1 Nishi, Kita 16-Jo, Chuo-ku,
Sapporo City, Hokkaido 〒060-0016
011-726-0461 Hakodate Racecourse 12-2 Komaba-cho, Hakodate City,
0138-53-1021 Fukushima Racecourse 9-23 Matsunami-cho, Fukushima City,
Fukushima Prefecture 〒960-8114
024-534-2121 Niigata Racecourse 3490 Toyosaka-Sasayama, Niigata City,
Niigata Prefecture 〒950-3301
025-259-3141 Nakayama Racecourse 1-1-1 Kosaku, Funabashi City,
Chiba Prefecture 〒273-0037
047-334-2222 Tokyo Racecourse 1-1 Hiyoshi-cho, Fuchu,
042-363-3141 Chukyo Racecourse 1225 Shikita, Magome-cho, Toyoake City,
Aichi Prefecture 〒470-1132
052-623-2001 Kyoto Racecourse 32 Yoshijima Watashibajima-cho, Fushimi-ku,
Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture 〒612-8265
075-631-3131 Hanshin Racecourse 1-1 Komano-cho, Takarazuka City,
Hyogo Prefecture 〒665-0053
0798-51-7151 Kokura Racecourse 4-5-1 Kitagata, Kokura Minami-ku,Kitakyushu City,
Fukuoka Prefecture 〒802-0841