The present study used the physicochemical approach to characterize the changes in acid–base status that occur in Standardbred racehorses during recovery from high-intensity exercise. Jugular venous blood was sampled from nine Standardbreds in racing condition, at rest and for 2 h following a high-intensity training workout. Plasma [H+] increased from 39.1±1.0 neq l−1 at rest to 44.8±2.7 neq l−1 at 1 min of recovery. A decreased strong ion difference ([SID]) was the primary contributor to the increased [H+] immediately at the end of exercise, while increased plasma weak ion concentration ([Atot]) was a minor contributor to the acidosis. A decreased partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) at 1 min of recovery had a slight alkalinizing effect. The decreased [SID] at 1 min of recovery was a result of a 15.1±3.1 meq l−1 increase in [lactate−], as [Na+] and [K+] were also increased by 6.5±0.7 and 1.14±0.06 meq l−1, respectively, at 1 min of recovery. It is concluded that high-intensity exercise and recovery is associated with significant changes in acid–base balance, and that full recovery of many parameters that determine acid–base status requires 60–120 min.