If you are a fan of the Kentucky Derby or similar horse racing, you can become a part of this world by purchasing a racing horse. Keep in mind that an animal suitable for top racing is not the same as the one worth $10,000 you want for occasional riding.
The answer to the question on how much does a racing horse cost is – at least several times more! However, the final price can significantly depend on various factors. On the other hand, an ultimate horse can pay off for a short period and make you rich after a few years. Let’s see.
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Racing Horse Price
Racehorse prices always depend on current economic trends. Therefore, the situation on the racehorses market was terrible in 2009, but it is different now.
For instance, the average yearling’s price was approximately $40,000 in 2009, but the same animal was worth $65,000 in 2020. Keep in mind that it is an average price that includes costly horses from prized lines.
The Racing horse breed value
|Horse type||Average price|
|Fillies and colts||$5,000 to $6,000|
|Yearling||$40,000 to $65,000|
|Stallions||$400,000 to $990,000|
|Well-trained stallions with a good track record||$75,000 to $10 million|
|Fusaichi Pegasus, the most expensive racehorse ever||$64 million|
|Green Monkey, the most expensive failure||$16 million|
In other words, the median price for an average one- or two-year-old racehorse is significantly lower and rarely goes over $20,000. On the other hand, a superior racehorse can be worth $75,000 to $10 million, depending on the bloodline and winning history.
The most expensive racehorse ever was the Thoroughbred named Fusaichi Pegasus, bought for $64 million.
Racing horse breed monthly expenses
|Racehorse retail price||$75,000 to $50 million|
|Horse stable and lodging||$25,000 to $425,000|
|Training and transportation||$1,900 to $3,900|
|Farrier||$300 to $500|
|Regular veterinary bills||$500 and $800|
|Horse insurance||$840 to $1,500|
Remember that having a racehorse is not the same as keeping a regular horse. Such an animal typically requires special treatment, and the maintenance and training are costly.
Factors That Determine Racehorse Prices
As I have already mentioned, you can notice significant differences in racehorse prices. It is possible to find an animal for only a few thousand dollars, while others sometimes cost millions.
Numerous factors affect racehorse pricing, including ones that have the most significant impact, like:
Before purchasing a racehorse, the first thing to do is determine the horse breed you want to take care of. The more common racehorses nowadays include:
Thoroughbreds – These racehorses are the most desired among people in the horse business. They are physically ideal, and their bodies are made for races and competitions.
You can buy one for approximately $100,000 to $300,000, but you should be prepared for high annual maintenance costs. In most cases, you will need to set aside about $45,000 for this purpose.
Arabians – People love Arabians and often buy these enduring and agile animals for racing. However, they are costly, and you will probably find the excellent runner for at least $25,000 to $300,000.
The price will primarily depend on the horses’ pedigree and training level. Luckily, these animals are not too demanding, so you should count on only $300 to $800 for monthly expenses.
If you love Arabians but don’t want to take it to races, you can purchase a non-racing type. In that case, the prices will be significantly lower.
Quarter horses – These sturdy and robust animals are fast, making them ideal for races. Since they accelerate up to high speed in a remarkably short time, they are suitable for short-track racing.
You can effortlessly find an ideal stallion for approximately $25,000 to $100,000. Its monthly expenses will be about $1,000.
Standardbreds – Many horse admirers choose this horse for conventional horse racing, although it is not primarily intended for that. Well-trained horses for racing will cost you $1,500 to $5,000, depending on their studbook designation, training level, and health condition.
Breeding history and bloodlines are the most significant factors that affect racehorses’ potential future racing success. You should pick out the winning stud parent with a specific studbook designation if you want a successful racehorse.
Since proven winners’ offspring typically continue the winning tradition, they will always cost more. That way, you will reduce the risk of buying an animal with poor racing skills.
That is a reason why people spend thousands of dollars on studs fees. Sometimes, you need to set aside even $200,000 for this purpose if you want to secure a winning horse bloodline. On the other hand, the ultimate studs’ offspring will be worth millions.
When you decide to purchase a foal of relatively unknown parents, you should use other parameters to predict its future racing abilities. An experienced professional can recognize future talents, but the fact is that all other traits give less reliable data.
You should be aware that racehorse training is costly, and two-year-old yearling prices will be higher than fillies and colts cost. As the years go by, costs for training add up, increasing the final racehorse sale price.
However, this rule will change once the animal passes its prime racing age. At that stage, you can expect only proven winners to stay pricey. Since most racehorses retire by the age of ten, you can expect that their value will decrease in that period.
As you can suppose, the racehorse will be worth more as soon as it proves itself on the track. Then, its value increases each time it wins.
Once the particular animal earns more than a million on races, its value becomes substantially higher than the initial price at the moment of purchase. Even after their racing careers finish, the best stallions will still be worth money since owners typically use them as studs.
It is vital who you decide to buy a horse from and where you do that. You will probably pay more for top stallions on reputable breeders and at auctions. However, you can buy a horse from a previous owner, acquaintance, or by recommendation to get a better deal.
Ways to Get the Best Price for a Racehorse
Nowadays, you can choose among numerous ways to buy a racehorse. The best options possible include auctions, private owners, and claims races.
Auctions are probably the best places to buy a racehorse since you can get a catalog with all information you need about a particular horse you are interested in. You can read about its bloodline and physical characteristics.
Some auctions allow viewing horses before the sale. So, you should take advantage of such an opportunity and check the desired horse up close, primarily its temperament and how it walks. Always determine your budget in advance and stick to it to avoid the reckless purchase.
In most cases, you can get the best deal from private owners. You can negotiate with those who have brought racehorses to an auction. The best option is to make an agreement before the auction starts and avoid most risks it brings and required commissions.
Remember that owners need to sell their racehorses for different reasons, and sometimes they want to do that as soon as possible. You can take advantage of a situation and get a magnificent animal for an affordable price in such a case.
You should also assess the risk when a young injured horse is offered. Sometimes, you can buy it cheap and get an excellent racing horse for small bucks.
Once you decide to buy a horse, you have an excellent strategy at your disposal, word of mouth recommendation. Letting horse owners know you are interested in purchasing a racehorse will bring you more opportunities and wider choices.
Introducing yourself to people in training facilities and racetracks will allow you to meet horse owners and give yourself a chance to get a variety of offers. Be careful and check each horse thoroughly to avoid fraud.
If you are inexperienced, bring a friend to help you or pay for such a service. It always pays off in the long run. Negotiations are welcome, and you only need to write a contract once you agree on the price.
Always include a clause that the agreement will be considered final only after the veterinary examination.
Most horse races of minor importance in the US are claims races. In this case, the owner sells the racehorse before racing. Interested buyers put the claim on the animal they want to buy.
In the end, the owner gets the purse, and the buyer pays the claim price for the chosen racehorse. Basically, it is betting on each racehorses’ future and the most affordable way to buy a winner horse below its actual value.
As you have already assumed, racehorses are a costly investment, and you can’t buy one for less than $75,000. On the other hand, the ultimate winners are worth millions of dollars.
Keep in mind that the horse’s price is not the only expense you should expect. Feeding, training, and taking care of such an animal will cost you a few hundred or even thousand dollars in a month.