As a lifelong OTTB person I never had a problem looking up Thorobred pedigrees via Equineline. Although getting a good read on an old lip tattoo can be a bit of a challenge. If you can decipher it, or know the horses registered name, you can obtain a decent 5 cross pedigree like this one (for my first horse) for free.
http://www.registry.jockeyclub.com/tjc/Free-5X-Pedigree.cfm?page_state=ORDER_AND_CONFIRM&reference_number=701229®istry=T&horse_name=Flip the Loop&dam_name=Shy Syl&foaling_year=1977&nicking_stats_indicator=Y
(As an aside, seems he was a great example of a pretty good sire mated to a less than spectacular dam, and true to form he won nothing at the track.)
They also cover Quarter Horses.
When I decided to look up my OTSB’s freeze band (much easier to read than the lip thing even on an older horse) I found it was not as easy. The USTA (United States Trotting Association) would provide a sire and dam name only after I ran her number, with further information in a members area that I had to pay for.
Hello…we are horse people, which means half of us are broke all the time 😉
So I continued in my search last night and had a bit more luck on Harnessracing.com
After running her freeze brand through the USTA to get her registered name I continued there. Using the drop down menus you can search pedigrees, sire progenies, dam progenies and race records.
Anyways, very interesting stuff if you care to learn more about your horses previous life or see if they had any famous ancestors up the line. I found out my mare was sired by Expensive Scooter, who won almost a million dollars.
Annnnnd….it explains why she is such a die hard pacer LOL.