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/howto/regist/).
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" 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 March 2023)
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.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about the Japan Racing Association
(updated on February 2023)
On thoroughbred breeding in Japan, and purchasing Japanese-bred horses
- How many racehorses are bred in Japan, and where are they mainly bred?
- In 1954, when the Japan Racing Association (JRA) was established, the number of racehorses bred in Japan was about 3,000. The number subsequently continued to increase, reaching 12,874 in 1992. Thereafter, the number declined gradually to 6,837 in 2012 due to the cancellation of Anglo-Arab racing and a contraction in the scale of municipal government racing (NAR). The number has since rebounded and risen to 7,782 in 2022.
Breeding areas are widely distributed throughout Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu. The traditional breeding areas are Tokachi, Hidaka, and Iburi in Hokkaido, and prefectures such as Aomori, Miyagi, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima. Hokkaido accounts for about 98% of the number of racehorses bred in Japan, with the Hidaka area making up roughly 80%.
- How can I trade racehorses?
- There are two methods of trading horses in Japan. The first is to buy or sell horses at public auction sales. The other is private sales where the purchase price is decided through direct negotiations between a breeder as the seller and an owner as the buyer.
Public auction sales are typically held in Hokkaido, Aomori, Chiba, and Kyushu from April until about October. For further details on the public auction sales schedule, please contact the auction organizers.
- What are auction sales?
- Auction sales are livestock markets for bloodhorses based on the Livestock Market Law. There are different auction sales for foals, yearlings, two-year-olds and breeding horses. For two-year-olds, “horses in training sales” are most popular, in which training demonstrations are held before going to auction.
- What are the fees for pre-training for horses and the content of pre-training?
- Training fees for private farms (facilities not supervised by JRA trainers) vary, depending on the content of the training, the facilities of the farm, the proficiency of the training personnel and other factors.
The content of the training ranges from initial breaking-in (such as pasturing, dietary management, bridling and saddling) to mounted training.
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 for the actual 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 must 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
- How do I register 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 the 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 the Japanese katakana syllabic script (limited to a maximum of 9 characters, among other restrictions). Therefore, 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.
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 is required for racehorse registration, so it should be kept in a safe place.
In addition, horse names can be changed before they are registered as racehorses for JRA or NAR (municipal government racing) races. (However, for foreign-bred horses that already have a name at the time of export, approval by a registering authority in the country of birth is required.) In addition, after a racehorse has been registered with the JRA, a name change is permitted once if the horse has not run in JRA, NAR (municipal government racing) or overseas races. The horse name change registration fee in such a case is 5,000 yen.
In addition, please refer to the “Guide to Horse Name Registration Procedures” issued by The Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book (JAIRS) for details on horse name registration. (Only available in Japanese)
- 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 the 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. Also, when applying, a “Notice of Horse Name Registration” issued by JAIRS must be attached, as well as documents needed to confirm ownership rights. Among others, these include a declaration of horse ownership, 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?
- Racehorses may be jointly owned provided that all joint owners are registered with the JRA. At present, joint ownership is permitted for up to 10 owners per horse. As ownership must be confirmed for all joint owners, the joint owners must submit, as an attachment, a declaration of horse ownership, the Liaison Officer’s name-seal registration certificate, a copy of the horse purchase agreement, and other relevant documents to the Miho or Ritto Training Center via the appointed trainer. In addition, in case of joint ownership, the joint owners must appoint one representative owner whose name will appear in the list of entrants and whose colors will be worn during races. Finally, prize money will also be transferred in full to the representative 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, and if this situation remains unchanged after 60 days, the horse 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 another person who is not registered, and to allow that person to falsely register a racehorse and enter it in races as if it belonged to the registered owner, would be deemed to be “name lending.” Such acts are strictly prohibited, and any owner or trainer who is party to such acts may be subject to severe punishment in the form of cancellation of their owner registration or trainer’s license. In addition, horses with multiple owners are not permitted to enter JRA races unless all joint owners are registered with the JRA. Furthermore, owning a horse jointly with a person who is not registered as an owner is also deemed to be “name lending.” In addition, please note that there are other cases that are deemed to be “name lending.” These include cases in which an individual owner registers a horse owned by a corporation that the individual operates (or capitalizes, or that is operated by a relative, etc.) as an individually owned racehorse and enters it in races, or cases in which a corporation performs accounts processing of earnings and expenses concerning an individually owned racehorse.
- Can I enter a loaned horse in a race?
A horse may only be registered as a racehorse if its owner has acquired “ownership.” Furthermore, registering a horse that has been temporarily loaned on the basis of a rental or lease contract and entering such a horse in races would also be regarded as an act of lending your name to the person who possesses ownership. Please be aware such acts 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 being purchased by owners, the thoroughbred horses born from winter to spring of each year first spend a period in yearling training farms before being stabled with an appointed trainer at either the Miho or Ritto Training Center.
Newcomer races are scheduled from about the month of June when a horse is two years old. Horses will go on to enter races, and eventually retire from JRA racing. After retirement, horses are commonly used for breeding, NAR races (municipal government racing), pleasure horse riding, and so on, depending on their career record as racehorses and pedigree, among other factors.
- Do registered racehorses always have to be stabled at 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, horses that have entered a JRA race, a JRA-NAR (municipal government racing) exchange race, or an overseas race following their registration (hereinafter collectively “horses with prior racing experience”) must be stabled at a JRA facility for 10 days prior to the race, and horses that do not qualify as horses with prior racing experience for 15 days.
- What are the methods and procedures for stabling horses at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers?
- By concluding an entrustment agreement with a trainer, an owner can stable a horse at a stable leased to the trainer by the JRA. The time of entry into a stable depends on the horse’s training status, among other factors.
- Can the JRA make introductions to trainers?
- The JRA cannot make introductions to trainers. Commonly, there are many cases in which an introduction is made by the breeding farm from which a horse was bought. For further details, please check the website below.
Japan Trainers Association: http://www.ijta.or.jp/
- What are the obligations of owners with respect to the racehorses they own? Can these obligations be delegated to the trainer or another 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 procedure.
With regard to their horses, owners normally delegate matters in three areas to their trainers who act as their agents: the declaration to run, stakes nomination, and veterinary treatment.
- If a problem arises with my trainer, will 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, stakes nomination fees and so on. The average monthly expenses are around 700,000 yen per horse. In addition, other fees such as veterinary treatment for racehorses, transportation fees when the horse is transported outside JRA facilities and so on will be incurred.
However, part of the cost for veterinary treatment is subsidized by the JRA Owners’ Mutual Association. As a general rule, the cost of transportation between the Miho or Ritto Training Center and racecourses for participating in races is not the responsibility of the horse owner.
- How long is the period of quarantine and compulsory stabling prior to races?
- When horses are stabled at a JRA facility, the horses must always undergo entrance quarantine. Also, before starting in a race, horses that have entered a JRA race, a JRA-NAR (municipal government racing) exchange race, or an overseas race following their registration (hereinafter collectively “horses with prior racing experience”) must be stabled at a JRA facility for 10 days prior to the race, and horses that do not qualify as horses with prior racing experience for 15 days.
- Is there a limit to the number of horses that can be entrusted to a trainer?
- At present, the JRA has about 3,850 horse stalls at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers combined (as of January 1, 2023). The number of stalls leased to each trainer is determined annually by the JRA’s Stable Leasing Review Committee.
Moreover, the number of horses that can be entrusted to each trainer is determined by the number of stalls leased, and trainers are not permitted to accept entrustments for racehorses beyond this number.
- What are the roles of 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 various other 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 in addition to riding the horse in races.
- What happens if a horse is injured during racing or training?
- The horse may receive appropriate treatment according to the symptoms of the injury or illness at a racehorse clinic in the Miho or Ritto Training Center, or at the racecourse. In the event of a serious injury or illness like a fracture or pneumonia, the horse may have to undergo surgery or be admitted for treatment at a racehorse clinic. If long-term rest is necessary due to a motor disorder, the horse may receive rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Research Center for return to races.
In addition, racehorse accidents that occur at JRA facilities are eligible for a racehorse injury consolation payment issued by the JRA Owners’ Mutual Association.
- What is a racehorse clinic?
- Racehorse clinics established at each racecourse, as well as at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers, provide various types of medical treatment and shoeing. Both training centers are equipped with the latest medical testing equipment and operating rooms, and have the necessary systems in place to treat serious ailments. The fees for such treatment are charged via the trainer based on uniform national standards.
The racehorse clinics also engage in tasks related to ensuring racing fairness, which is fundamental to horseracing, and from the perspective of veterinary medicine, they carry out tasks such as physically examining horses about to run in races and controlling prohibited substances.
In addition, the clinics also carry out disinfection, vaccination and other quarantine work to prevent the spread of infectious diseases at training centers, where racehorses are managed collectively. In particular, entrance quarantine is the most important task in terms of preventing the introduction of pathogens. A horse must undergo this quarantine inspection before it can enter JRA facilities, whether for the first time or in repeat stabling.
In addition to the JRA’s own clinics, there are private-practice 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 owner of a racehorse registered with the JRA when an accident occurs within JRA facilities. The amount of the consolation payment is set out in provisions determined by the JRA Owners’ Mutual Association, and varies based on whether the injury happened during racing or training, or on the extent of the injury.
The JRA Owners’ Mutual Association is also involved in operations related to subsidizing the cost of clinical examinations 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
4-7-2 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 (Training Center general line)
Ritto Training Center, 1028 Misono,
Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture 520-3085
Tel: 077-558-0101 (Training Center general line)
On the Racing Fixtures and Racing Calendar
- What is the JRA’s Racing Calendar and situation of holding 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 general rule, races are held on Saturdays, Sundays and Japanese public holidays.
In fiscal 2022, there were 36 race meetings, 288 race days, and 3,456 races in total.
- 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 the Racing Programs, which are 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.
These supplementary rules are amended as appropriate, so Liaison Officers should keep up to date with the Racing Programs and explain the rules and changes to owners.
- When are Racing Fixtures 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 the 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 Fixtures (races held between January and May) in late November of the previous year, the summer Racing Fixtures (races held between June and September) in the middle of April, and the autumn Racing Fixtures (races held between September and December) from late July to early August.
- What are the types and classes of races?
- The JRA currently holds two types of races: 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 a horse's racing performance, with the aim of matching horses with similar ability and thereby enhancing competition. In the case of thoroughbred flat races for example, 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 and maidens → 1 win class → 2 wins class → 3 wins class → open class.
- What are earnings?
- Earnings are an amount for race eligibility calculated using the prize money for races in which a horse has finished in 1st place (and in 2nd place in graded races). The race class categories are determined on the basis of these earnings.
- What are plate races, stakes races, graded races and listed 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 are the highest. These are indicated on the List of Graded Races. Depending on the importance of the race, thoroughbred flat races are classified into G I, G II and G III races, and thoroughbred steeplechase races into J-G I, J-G II and J-G III races.
Listed races are the next most important races after graded races in the horse racing system.
- What is the grading system for graded races?
- To clarify the importance of different races, respective grades are assigned to flat races and steeplechase races depending on the prize money, weight carried, history and tradition, race quality and other factors. Flat races are classified into G I, G II and G III by the Japan Pattern Committee, and steeplechase races are graded into J-G I, J-G II and J-G III races.
G I races (including J-G I) are, in principle, races at the very pinnacle of the sport, and are designed to produce the champion horses over each distance category. They also have very great significance as indicators for horse breeding. G II races (including J-G II) are second in importance to G I races, and are relatively easy to enter for the winners of G I races. G III races (including J-G III) are basically a step towards G I and G II races. Races for three (four)-year-olds and up are subject to various conditions, including qualification, weight carried and distance.
- What are special weight races and handicap races?
- There are three categories of weight carried in races: 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 in addition to the horse’s age, including its sex, earnings and number of wins. Races contested with this weight are called "Special Weight races." 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. Races contested with this weight are called "Handicap races."
[Refer to Article 71 of the JRA Rules of Racing]
- Are there any races a horse is not eligible to enter due to its past performance?
- Three-year-old maidens and novices may not enter flat races in the 5th meetings at the Tokyo or Nakayama racecourses, flat races in the 3rd meeting at Kyoto Racecourse, and flat races in the 5th meeting at Hanshin racecourse, in 2023. In addition, maidens and novices aged four and up may not enter flat races at the Nakayama, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hanshin racecourses, and flat races in the 1st meeting at Chukyo Racecourse.
- How are the numbers of runners (post positions) decided?
- The post numbers assigned to runners in the various races are all decided automatically by computer, with the exception of some G I races in which the numbers are assigned by public lottery. Similarly, all horses selected to run when the number of declared entrants exceeds the permitted number of starters are decided automatically by computer.
The post positions at the starting gate are the same as the numbers outlined above, starting with number 1 and proceeding from the inside of the track towards the outside.
The JRA has no system of “also eligible” runners. In other words, even when a runner is withdrawn after the entries and post positions are made public, other horses are not moved up to enter a race.
- Can horses registered with the JRA also be entered in NAR (municipal government racing) races?
- Yes, but only in JRA-NAR (municipal government racing) exchange races. Until 1994, horses registered with the JRA had been permitted to take part in only very limited races, like the Teio Sho races at the Oi Racecourse. Since 1995, however, JRA-NAR (municipal government racing) exchange races have been expanded gradually, including conditional races. In 2022, a total of 189 of these races were held by 12 promoters. These consisted of 40 graded dirt exchange races and 149 conditional exchange races. For further details, refer to the "Guide to Specified JRA-NAR Exchange Races" issued every quarter.
- 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 from 9:00 to 15:00 at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers and the racecourses of the races 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.
Entrants will be determined by considering predefined conditions such as earnings and intervals between races. Post positions will be determined by a race vote by the NAR race promoter approximately two or three days before the race.
On race entry and other related matters
- Is a horse’s training condition checked before the horse can be entered in a race?
- Horses that are stabled will be trained under the supervision of a trainer.
A horse entering a JRA race for the first time must be trained in a JRA facility (training centers and racecourses) for at least 15 days and also pass a starting gate examination for fitness. Horses entering steeplechase races for the first time are also required to take a steeplechase training examination. In addition, a horse that has been ordered to be re-examined for training fitness by a steward as a result of the content of an actual race may not enter races until it has passed the re-examination.
- How can I enter my horse in a race?
- The trainer who has been entrusted with a horse by its owner judges the horse’s fitness and training condition, selects an appropriate race and a jockey, and makes an application for race entry (a “declaration to run”) on behalf of the owner. In other words, the owner is not directly involved in the procedure for entering the horse in races.
A declaration to run is normally made between noon and 2:45 p.m. on the Thursday before a race. This can be done at the Miho and Ritto Training Centers, and also at the Sapporo and Hakodate racecourses in the summer season.
When a horse is to be entered in a stakes race, a stakes nomination must be made in addition to the above procedure. Stakes nomination is normally accepted on the Sunday of the week before a race (in the case of G I races, two weeks before).
Special registration for the five major stakes races is necessary for entries to classic races for three-year-olds.
- 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 is for the purpose of conducting races with the entry of horses that are suitable for the grade of the race. It applies to the five major stakes races for three-year-olds, as well as other graded races and stakes races. The fees collected through the stakes nomination fees 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 for reasons such as injury or illness of the horse.
* Weather and track conditions do not constitute grounds for withdrawal from a race.
On prize money
- What kinds of prize money or other earnings can owners receive?
- Prize money consists of the added money stipulated in the Racing Program, the distance bonus, the Japanese-bred thoroughbred ownership bonus, the participation incentive money and stakes money. Moreover, special race entry incentive money and bonuses may be issued in some races. Besides these, special participation allowances are also paid to owners who enter their horses in races.
For further details on prize money, please refer to the prize money simulation on the JRA website.
- What is added money?
- This is the total prize money recorded in the added money column of a Racing Program, which is paid to the owners of horses finishing 1st to 5th in a race. In this case, 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 10th in flat races over a distance of 1,800 meters or more, held on turf courses in open races excluding graded races, and stakes races of 3 wins class, 2 wins class, and 1 win class (excluding races for two and three-year-old horses).
- What is the Japanese-bred thoroughbred ownership bonus?
- This bonus includes the Japanese-bred horse bonus and the Japanese-bred filly bonus. The Japanese-bred horse bonus is paid to the owners of Japanese-bred thoroughbred horses finishing 1st to 5th in flat races, according to the category of race entered.
The Japanese-bred filly bonus is paid to the owners of Japanese-bred fillies finishing 1st to 5th in newcomer and maiden flat races, except for races limited to fillies only (for three-year-old maiden races, this is limited to those held in spring only).
- What is participation incentive money?
- This is an amount paid to the owners of horses finishing 6th to 9th in a race (horses finishing 6th to 10th in graded races or flat open races). The amount is calculated by multiplying the purse for 1st place by a prescribed ratio. However, the bonus will not be paid in cases such as crossing the finish line in excess of the times specified after the winning horse has completed the course.
- What is the special participation allowance?
- This is an allowance paid to owners of horses entered in races. It is determined in accordance with the category of the race. However, in some cases the allowance may be increased or reduced in value or not paid at all according to the race conditions.
- What is the broodmare owner’s bonus?
- To maintain high-quality racehorse resources, 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 race, 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 was 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 the JRA. However, no payment is made when the horse in question is a foreign-bred horse.
Because an investigation period is required, it takes approximately one to two months following a race for the broodmare owner’s bonus to be awarded.
- What is the prize money paid to the trainer, jockey and stable personnel?
- This 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 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 made by the Friday following the race, and a remittance notice is also sent to the Liaison Officer in Japan. At the time of transfer, the prize money to be paid 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 about any change in the designated bank account and other related matters.
- Can prize money be transferred to an overseas bank account?
- In principle, transfers can only be made to a Japanese bank account in the owner’s name. (A Japanese branch of a foreign bank is also possible.) The same applies when a JRA owner enters a foreign-trained horse in an international exchange race.
For more information on how to open an account with a Japanese bank, please contact a Japanese bank directly.
- 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 in Japan by owners who are non-residents of 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 tax status due to tax treaties between Japan and the owner’s country of residence. 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, the prize money and other earnings are paid by the promoter. Also, if the amount of prize money awarded by the promoter is less than the standard award in a JRA race under the same conditions, the JRA will pay an amount proportionate to the shortfall.
For the amount of shortfall to be supplemented, see the statement issued by the JRA after the race or check with the appointed trainer.
- What is the owner’s prize?
- The owners of winning horses of all races will be presented prizes, and will be given 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 the Liaison Officer 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 to be subject to taxation.
For prizes awarded in JRA races, a list for 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 include cases when the race steward recognize the extremely malicious and dangerous actions against other jockeys or horses cause the serious obstruction for a race, when drugs or other substances have been used either to temporarily enhance or reduce a horse’s racing performance, when a horse has not run on its own merits for no good reason, or when more than 1 kg in weight has been lost between weighing-out and weighing-in (except in cases deemed unavoidable by the race steward). If a horse is disqualified, prize money and other earnings will not be awarded.
- When would a horse be demoted in a race?
- If a horse obstructs another horse’s course during a race, if the race steward judges that the obstructed horse would have finished ahead of the offending horse without the obstruction, the placing of the offending horse will be demoted to a placing behind the obstructed horse.
Following various other countries, the demotion system was implemented on January 1, 1991, and the demotion judgment criteria were changed to the above on January 1, 2013. Under the new rule, the performance and placing of horses in races will be more respected.
- What are prohibited substances?
- Horse racing combines the two aspects of sport and gambling, and it goes without saying that ensuring integrity is a vital condition. 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. Horses are therefore not permitted to race while their racing performance has been temporarily enhanced or reduced by drugs. Drugs that have such an effect are defined as prohibited substances in the Rules of Racing. If such substances are detected in the post-race physiochemical test, the horse will be disqualified from the race and barred from receiving prize money or other earnings. In addition, the concerned parties will be banned or suspended from involvement in racing, and may be punished under the Horse Racing Act.
In addition, to prevent horses from testing positive for drug contamination from feed, racehorses in JRA facilities are only permitted to take feed that complies with the Guidelines to Implement Feed and Drugs Testing specified by the Feed and Drugs Testing Supervision Committee, and that is delivered to the stables by parties approved by the President of the JRA. In addition, the only drugs that are permitted to be administered to horses stabled in JRA facilities are those that are prescribed or injected directly by a veterinarian approved by the JRA. For this reason, it is strictly prohibited to bring feed or drugs into the stables from outside, including by horse owners.
- What are controlled substances?
- Racehorses are athletes, and it is not uncommon for them to suffer from musculoskeletal disorders (muscle pains, joint inflammation, fractures, etc.) sustained in routine training. Allowing horses to enter races while on drugs that suppress the pain of such disorders can not only aggravate symptoms, but also lead to major accidents. To ensure the welfare of racehorses and to prevent accidents, it is therefore necessary to regulate drugs that are administered to racehorses. For this reason, glucocorticoids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), etc., which have an anti-inflammatory analgesic effect, are designated as controlled substances, and their use prior to races is regulated. Unlike prohibited substances, controlled substances do not affect the racing performance of the horses, but it is important to ascertain that horses are not competing under the influence of a drug on the day of the race. Consequently, in case horses are administered controlled substances, trainers and veterinarians are instructed to carefully manage such administration, including the necessity and the remaining period until the race.
- What are prohibited practices?
- In recent years, practices that cannot be regulated through existing drug testing methods, such as inappropriate use of gene therapies or blood reinfusion, have become an international concern. In addition, from the standpoint of animal welfare, calls are being made for international agreements to restrict practices that cause excessive suffering of horses, practices that may affect the normal growth of horses, and veterinary treatments that may cause accidents during training or races. To clamp down on such practices, the JRA has defined horse-related practices that must be curbed as “prohibited practices” from the standpoint of ensuring fairness, horse welfare, and accident prevention. The JRA is also raising awareness and providing guidance on this issue in order to eliminate such practices not only within JRA facilities but among all parties involved with horses.
- What is a petition for a ruling on disqualification/demotion?
- If a horse’s owner, trainer or jockey judges that the horse has suffered interference during a race and that the affected horse would have finished ahead of the offending horse without the interference, they may make a petition for a ruling on disqualification/demotion to the race steward, but only before the race result is made official. The petition must be made in writing, and accompanied by a guarantee of 30,000 yen. The race steward then makes a ruling on the petition, and notifies the petitioner of the result. If a petition for a ruling on disqualification/demotion is rejected, the petitioner may file an appeal within two days after the date on which the ruling was made. However, if the petition is rejected, the guarantee will not be returned. In addition, the Liaison Officer of a non-resident owner may not make a petition for a ruling on disqualification/demotion.
- 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 a 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. If the owner of a horse that has been subjected to retroactive disqualification does not return the prize money and other earnings within the designated period, none of the horses owned by the owner will be able to enter in races. Appeals against rulings of retroactive disqualification may be filed with the President of the JRA within thirty days after the date of the ruling. Owners who are not residents of Japan should do this through their Liaison Officer. Whatever the outcome, this process will not affect winning pari-mutuel bets.
- 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) rulings of rejection of a petition for rulings on disqualification/demotion, (3) rulings of jockey suspension, and (4) rulings of retroactive disqualification. Appeals against (1), (2), and (4) were institutionalized from January 1994, and the appeal against (3) from April 2016.
The person who may appeal is the horse’s owner, trainer and jockey in cases (1) and (4), the owner, trainer or jockey who made a petition for a ruling on disqualification/demotion in case (2), and the jockey who received the suspension in case (3). Please note that the Liaison Officer of a non-resident owner may not make a petition for a ruling on disqualification/demotion.
The time allowed for appeals in cases (1), (2) and (3) is two days after the date on which the ruling was made. In case (4), 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. However, if an appeal is 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 will be 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 the flat race entry restriction depending on performance in three races?
- If a three-year-old or older maiden cannot finish within 8th place three consecutive times in JRA flat races after January 1, 2019, the horse may not run in flat races for two months, counting from the day after the third race.
However, races for debut, for which did not finish, and for which the race steward deems there are unavoidable circumstances, etc., will not be counted toward the three consecutive times.
- What is “time over”?
- “Time over” occurs when a horse fails to cross the finish line within a specific time after the winning horse has completed the race. Horses running in flat races other than graded races and jockeys’ invitational races (World All-Star Jockeys Series, Young Jockeys Series), as well as other races specified in the Racing Program, 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 columns to the right
Newcomer races Turf courses Dirt courses Turf courses Dirt courses Less than 1,400m 3 sec. 4 sec. 4 sec. 5 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.
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 horses that had a nosebleed?
- 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.
Moreover, while running in races during the period of being a JRA registered racehorse, a horse that has a nosebleed (except when due to external injury) from the time the horse is led into the saddling enclosure until the end of a race, may not enter races for 1 month from the day following the date of 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 the JRA, it must be withdrawn from JRA facilities. Where the horse will be sent after deregistration will be decided after discussions between the owner and the trainer. In addition to cases of transferring to NAR (municipal government racing), horses are transferred to breeding or pleasure riding purposes, and so on.
- What should I do to register my horse with NAR (municipal government racing)?
- The JRA’s organization differs from NAR (municipal government racing), and their systems of registering owners and horses, and licensing trainers and jockeys, are separate from the JRA. Therefore, if you wish to register your horse with NAR, you will need to obtain owner registration with NAR.
If you wish to transfer your horse to NAR (municipal government racing), the conditions differ depending on the promotor. The main conditions include the following:
- ・The total amount of earnings is over a specified amount. (The method for calculating earnings differs depending on the promotor.)
- ・The age does not exceed the standard.
- ・The number of penalties due to bad starts, nosebleeds, time over, and so on does not exceed the standard.
- What is the procedure for when an active racehorse becomes a breeding horse?
- Horses are not permitted to be used simultaneously for racing and breeding. When a racehorse is to be used for breeding, the horse must be removed from the racehorse register of the JRA or NAR (municipal government racing). Broodmares must undergo breeding registration with JAIRS. Stallions must also follow this procedure, but must additionally undergo breeding stock inspections carried out by prefectural authorities and the National Livestock Breeding Center (NLBC). For further details, please contact the following.
The Japan Association for International Racing and Stud Book (JAIRS):
c/o JRA Shimbashi Branch,
4-5-4 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0004
On important points 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.
Other than the general area, owners may access the Racecourse Office and stable area. You may only enter the paddock when your horse is due to run in the race. In any case, you will be required to present your owner’s ID badge.
Owners and their Liaison Officers who wish to enter these areas should follow the instructions of racecourse personnel.
- Can Liaison Officers freely enter racecourses?
- 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 pictures 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 an award ceremony for graded races and stakes races?
- Awards ceremonies are usually held in the winner’s circle (or, in wet weather, sometimes inside the stand), where awards are presented to the owner as well as the trainer, jockey, groom and so on.
Moreover, at G I races, J-G I 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 an 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, and the real name will also appear in the Racing Program and race result. However, celebrities, authors and others who are widely recognized by a stage name or pen name are sometimes allowed to use that name.
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 JRA racing on the Internet?
- The JRA website features useful information for the enjoyment of spectators at JRA races, including race cards, race results, payouts and other information regarding race meet days, as well as a guide to JRA facilities, FAQ, and various data files. To access this information, please visit the JRA websites detailed below.
There is also a paid information provision service by JRA-VAN for those who wish to access more detailed racing data.
◎ JRA website address (Japanese version) https://jra.jp/ ◎ JRA website address (English version) https://japanracing.jp/en/ ◎ JRA-VAN website address (*Paid service) https://jra-van.jp/
- How many owners are registered with the JRA?
- As of January 1, 2023, there were 2,740 registered owners, of whom 2,326 were individual owners.
Reference: Addresses of JRA racecourses and other facilities
Name Address Tel. Head Office 1-1-1 Nishi-shimbashi, Minato-ku,
03-3591-5251 Kansai Media and Publicity Office 19F, Aqua Dojima NBF Tower, 1-4-16 Dojimahama,
Kita-ku, Osaka City, Osaka 530-0004
06-7636-2860 Equestrian Park
Kami-Yoga 2-1-1, Setagaya-ku,
(Temporarily closed) Equestrian Park
321-4 Tokami-cho, Utsunomiya City,
Tochigi Prefecture 320-0856
028-647-0650 Horse Racing School 835-1 Ne, Shiroi City,
Chiba Prefecture, 270-1431
047-491-0333 Equine Research Institute 1400-4 Shiba, Shimotsuke City,
Tochigi Prefecture 329-0412
0285-44-0090 Rehabilitation Research Center 71 Uenohara, Joban Shiratorimachi, Iwaki City,
Fukushima Prefecture, 972-8325
0246-43-3185 Hidaka Training and Research Center 535-13 Nishicha, Urakawa-cho,
Urakawa-gun, Hokkaido 057-0171
0146-28-1211 Miyazaki Yearling
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 Sasayama, Kita-ku, 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 City,
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