How Much Racehorses Can Cost

Obviously, the amount a racehorse can cost vary massively and much like the housing market you are hoping to find the upcoming hot commodity e.g a sire or family that is in vogue. Alot of pin hookers for example will target a first season stallion that is due to have his first runners when purchasing their stock for the season.

A quick look at the sales figures from Goffs in 2018 will gave a good guide as to the average cost of a horse:

Three Year Old (Derby Sale):  €48,389

Yearling (Orby Sale): €132,613

Yearling (Sportsman’s Sale): €18,971

Yearling (Autunm Sale): €5,458

Horses In Training Sale: €18,186

Most Expensive Failures

As can be seen from these figures, there are different sales for individual budgets and for whichever horse you are looking for. Obviously, there are no guarantees when it comes to purchasing a horse, as can be seen from some expensive failures below:

3. The amount paid for Snaafi Dancer is incredible, considering it was 1983 and $1 million would have seemed a lot of money but the $10.2 million paid by Hamdan Al Maktoum made him not only the most expensive yearling sold but also the most expensive Thoroughbred sold at auction at the time ever. He was viewed as a future stallion by connections but unfortunately he turned out to be an absolute flop. His work on the gallops was so bad that he never even made it to racecourse and was swiftly retired.

Two years at stud only resulted in three runners, none of which achieved anything of note and he was full retired afterwards.

Meydan City

2. Meydan City was another major flop from 2006 when Sheikh Mohammed paid $11.7 million for the son of Kingmambo to race under his Godolphin banner. Meydan City only graced the racecourse on eight occasions, resulting in two low-level victories. Upon retiring he had only amassed $51,035 in prize money, a far cry from the millions spent to purchase him.

1. The Green Monkey tops the list having been knocked down to the Coolmore team for $16 million back in 2006. In just three career starts, a third place finish was the best he could manage and he earned just a mere $10.000. A career at stud lay ahead for The Green Monkey but he once again flopped.

Rags To Riches Stories

Don’t get worried by all the above horror stories, there are always two sides to a story. The other side of this is where every single horseowner gets hope, the cheap horses that have excelled on the track:

Jet Setting
Jet Setting

4. Jet Setting

Following four unsucesful starts for Richard Hannon, Jet Setting was shrewdly picked up at the sales by Adrian Keatley for £12,000. Only five starts later she was getting the upper hand in a ding dong battle with Minding to claim the Irish 1000 Guineas, in a red letter day for connections.

A date with the sales ring was next for Jet Setting and the China Horse Club purchased her for a staggering €1.3 million. That was some return in seven months and gives anyone who’s gone to the sales hope.

3. Gordon Lord Byron

Tom Hogan’s stable star was bought for €2,000 and such was his rise through the ranks, a documentary was recently aired featuring him. This globetrotter has earned connections over €1.6 million, following 15 wins and it may not have stopped with the now 11-year-old entered to run this weekend.

2. Danedream

This mare went into German folklore when she took the 2011 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe by five lenghts in a record time. She is one of only two German winners of this great race and all in all she won over €4 million in prize money in what was a glittering career. Danedream was bought for €9,000 at the sales, which seems good value to be part of German racing history. She continues to more than earn her keep in her new career as a broodmare with her Dubawi colt going for 1.5 million Guineas at auction.

California Chrome
California Chrome

1. California Chrome

He won two of the three American Triple crown races and he tops our far from extensive list having been purchased for only €10,000 and going on to win over €12.5 milion for veteran trainer Art Sherman.

His Dubai World Cup victory was probably a career highlight. Connections decided to retire him in Janurary 2017, where he stands at Taylor Made Stud in Kentucky for an attractive $35,000.

Getting Bang For Your Buck!

Of course the expression “You get what you pay for!” bears through too and below is an examples of one horse that came with a hefty price tag but justified it.

Fusaichi Pegasus

When connections paid $4 million dollars for him as a yearling, they obviously had high hopes but they could never have imagined selling him for $64 million at the end of his Kentucky Derby winning season to Coolmore.

Fusaichi Pegaus split his covering duties between Ashford Stud in Kentucky and Coolmore Australia in Jerrys Plains, New South Wales. In general he was considered a disappointment as a stallion given how much Coolmore paid for him but as an initial purchase by Fusao Sekiguchi, the investment royally paid off.

Typical Ownership Costs

So far we have only covered how much it costs to purchase a horse at the sales, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s say you went to the sales and bought a yearling for €5,000 to begin with you’ll need to get a vet to check the horses wind (€50) and obviously pay for the horse at the sales desk before you can leave the sales ring with your new purchase.

However you don’t wat to be standing on the side of road holding the next Frankel in your eyes, so transport will have to be organised (€100) to bring your horse to it’s next destination, let’s say your trainer. You will also have to register as an owner with your respective governing body along with registering your racing colours, which is one of the funniest parts for the ownership process.

Once your horse starts with the trainer, the real costs begin! Having recently went through the process myself, the average trainer will set you back around €1500 a month in training fees. This excluding shoeing (€100 a month), vet fees (€80 a month), entries (€1000 a year-average), jockey fees (€1000 a year – average).

All of the above fees mount up with the average horse in training for nine months or so, you could be looking at up to €30,000 a year and as an individual owner it can be tough to manage. The easiest way for any potential owner to get a share in a horse is through a syndicate, where you share the horse and the bills. So if ten people come together instead of looking at a €30,000 yearly bill, you only have to pony up €3,000. It’all the fun for a fraction of the cost. It does mean you have to share any of the winnings but it’s a small price to pay I feel.  

If you are interested in owning a racehorse there are fiver different options available to suit every budget, all of which can be found on the BHA website:

  1. Sole Owner
  2. Comapny
  3. Partneship
  4. Syndicate
  5. Racing Club

I would strongly advise getting involved in racehorses ownership as it is become so accessible with the dawning of recent racing clubs. It’s very difficult to replace the thrill of having a winner and it’s what keeps every jockey, trainer, owner and breeder going.  


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