All modern Thoroughbreds carry the genetics of three stallions imported to England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Darley Arabian, to whom 95% of today's Thoroughbred pedigrees trace, the Godolphin Arabian, also known as the Godolphin Barb (Because this horse was born in Morocco, there is some dispute among historians whether this horse was a true Arabian or a Barb. However, based on paintings from life, the stallion was clearly Arabian in type, a Barb is built differently), and the Byerly Turk (who may have been a Turkoman Horse rather than an Arabian), together with around 35 mares. There are also other horses of oriental breeding that have been less of an influence but are still noteworthy. One of those is the Alcock Arabian, thought to be largely responsible for the gray coat color in Thoroughbreds. Others include the Unknown Arabian, the Helmsley Turk, the Lister Turk and Darcy's Chestnut. The first Thoroughbred horse in the American Colonies was Bulle Rock, imported by Samuel Gist of Hanover County, Virginia, in 1730. Maryland and Virginia were the centers of Colonial Thoroughbred breeding, along with South Carolina and New York.

The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known as a race horse. While carefully bred racehorses had existed throughout Europe for centuries prior to this time, the breed as it is known today developed during the 17th century in England when English mares began to be bred to imported Arabian stallions. This addition of verifiable Arabian blood coincided with the creation of the General Stud Book of England and the practice of official registering of horses. Today all modern Thoroughbreds trace to these imported stallions. Some individuals mistakenly refer to a purebred horse of any breed, or any other type of purebred animal as a "thoroughbred." However, this is incorrect usage: the Thoroughbred is a distinct breed of horse. The proper term for any horse that is a pedigreed animal of a single breed is always "purebred".


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Thoroughbred".