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The True Cost of Racehorse Ownership: Factors and FAQs

Every year, countless individuals across the globe succumb to the allure of owning a racehorse. However, before delving into this exciting world, it is essential to understand the costs associated with racehorse ownership.

From boarding and training fees to vet bills and equipment, these costs can quickly add up. Moreover, the price tag attached to acquiring a racehorse can be significantly high, depending on several factors.

Factors That Affect the Cost of a Racehorse

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When it comes to purchasing a racehorse, the cost can vary significantly based on various factors. One of the most significant determinants of the racehorse’s price is the age at which it’s sold.

A foal is typically sold for an average price of $90,000, while a yearling costs around $129,000. On the other hand, two-year-olds can be sold for up to $500,000, and older horses can fetch anywhere upwards of $100,000.

Another critical factor that affects a racehorse’s cost is its pedigree. Horses with a winning pedigree or those sired by famous racehorses can be sold for a higher price.

For instance, an offspring of Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah would cost over $1 million. Similarly, fillies with a good pedigree and proven sires can also command a higher price.

Training also plays a crucial role in determining a racehorse’s cost. Horses that have undergone extensive training, often improved their racing experience, thereby increasing their value.

Therefore, the time, patience, dedication, and work invested in a racehorse’s training can determine its sales price. A racehorse’s record is also a vital factor that impacts its value.

Horses with a consistent win record, especially in maiden and allowance races, can be sold for a higher price than those without wins or that have only won in lower-level claiming races. Additionally, horses that have won multiple Grade I stakes races will command a much higher price than unproven horses.

Conformation is another crucial factor that affects a racehorse’s cost. Horses with excellent conformation, which refers to their physical attributes, such as speed, power, and body structure, will be sold for a premium price.

In contrast, horses with conformation flaws may be sold for less. The Keeneland Digital Sale is also a critical determinant of racehorse prices.

The sale offers buyers an opportunity to purchase racehorses online, with prices ranging from a few thousand dollars to over $1 million. The sale has become increasingly popular in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it provides a safe and convenient way to buy a racehorse remotely.

Additional Costs of Racehorse Ownership

Primary Keyword(s): board, training, vet bills, farrier expenses, equipment, nomination fees, licensing fees, entry fees, mount fees

Beyond the cost of purchasing a racehorse, owners must also take into account the expenses associated with caring for the horse. These costs include board, training, vet bills, farrier expenses, equipment, nomination fees, licensing fees, entry fees, and mount fees.

Board and training costs refer to the fees charged for keeping the horse in a stable and providing daily care, including feeding, grooming, and exercising. These costs can vary substantially, depending on the location, the services offered, and the quality of care provided.

Vet bills and farrier expenses are also essential expenses in racehorse ownership. Veterinary care can range from routine checkups and vaccinations to more extensive procedures such as surgery and medication.

Farrier expenses refer to the cost of shoeing the horse and repairing any damage to its hooves. Additionally, owners must account for the cost of equipment, such as tack and saddles, to ensure the horse is comfortable and safe while racing.

Nomination fees, licensing fees, entry fees, and mount fees are paid when registering a horse for races.


Racehorse ownership comes with significant costs beyond the initial purchase price. Factors such as age, pedigree, training, record, and conformation are all essential determinants of the price of a racehorse, while additional expenses include board, training, vet bills, farrier expenses, equipment, nomination fees, licensing fees, entry fees, and mount fees.

Before venturing into the world of racehorse ownership, potential owners should carefully consider these factors and costs to make an informed decision. However, the thrill of watching a well-bred, well-trained racehorse cross the finish line makes ownership worth the investment for many people.

When it comes to racehorse ownership, it is essential to consider the various costs associated with it. From board and training fees to racing expenses and transportation costs, the total cost of owning a racehorse can be significant.

However, this investment can be worthwhile, especially if the horse performs well on the track. In this article, we will delve into the details of racehorse ownership costs and explore where to buy a racehorse.

Cost of Racehorse Ownership

Board and Training

Board and training are essential expenses that come with racehorse ownership. Board refers to the fees owners pay to keep their horses in a stable or training facility.

The costs can vary significantly, depending on the facility’s location, amenities, and services offered. Monthly board fees typically include basic care, such as food, water, shavings, turnout, and stall cleaning.

Depending on the facility, additional services, such as grooming, exercise, and training, may be available at an extra cost. On average, board fees can range from $500 to $2,000 per month, depending on the facility’s location and services.

Beyond board fees, owners must also consider training fees. These fees are charged for the horse’s daily care, including exercise, grooming, and training.

Training fees can vary significantly, depending on the trainer’s experience, location, and reputation.


Owners are also responsible for the cost of equipment necessary for their horse’s care and performance. Necessary equipment includes tack, grooming equipment, training gear, and racing silks.

Tack includes items such as saddles, bridles, and reins, while grooming equipment includes combs, brushes, and other tools necessary for grooming and hygiene. Training gear includes items such as exercise saddles, martingales, and blinkers.

Racing silks, which are worn by jockeys during races, can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000, depending on the design and materials used.

Vet and Farrier Expenses

Horses require regular veterinary care, including annual checkups, vaccinations, and medication. Additionally, farrier expenses include keeping the horse’s feet trimmed and shoes reset regularly.

These costs can add up quickly, and owners should anticipate spending several thousand dollars on medical expenses each year.

Racing Fees

Racing fees include various expenses associated with racing a horse. These fees can range from nomination fees, licensing fees, entry fees, and mount fees.

Nomination fees refer to the cost of nominating a horse for a particular race, while licensing fees are paid to register the owner, trainer, and jockey with the state racing commission. Entry fees are paid upon entering a horse in a particular race, and mount fees are paid to the jockey for riding the horse.

These fees can range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the race’s prestige and location.


Transportation costs are another essential factor to consider when planning to own a racehorse. Professional haulers transport horses to racetracks and training facilities.

The cost of transportation depends on the distance traveled and the hauler’s reputation and experience. On average, an owner can expect to spend around $2 to $3 per mile for professional horse transportation.

Therefore, transporting a horse across the country can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the distance traveled.


Insurance is another expense associated with racehorse ownership. Owners should consider purchasing mortality and medical insurance for their horses.

These policies can help protect owners’ investment in case their horse becomes injured, ill, or dies. The cost of insurance depends on the horse’s value and age and can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Where to Buy a Racehorse

There are several ways to purchase a racehorse, including claiming stakes, auctions, from breeders and owners, and even online. Claiming stakes are a popular way to acquire a racehorse.

Owners can purchase claiming horses for a set price, and the track steward ensures the horse’s health and soundness. However, prospective owners must do their homework and research the horse’s history and health before making a purchase.

They must also work with reputable trainers and owners to ensure the horse remains healthy and performs well on the track. Auctions are another popular way to buy racehorses.

Horse auctions typically offer catalogs with horse pedigrees, descriptions, and workouts. The Keeneland September Yearling Sale is one of the most popular auctions for racehorse purchases.

Another way to buy a racehorse is through a breeder or their training stables. Owners can work with reputable breeders and trainers to purchase well-bred, well-trained horses that have a higher chance of performing well on the track.

Finally, owners can purchase horses online through various online auctions and social media platforms. However, prospective owners must take precautions when buying horses online, including thoroughly researching the seller and horse’s history and using reputable payment and shipping services.


Owning a racehorse is an exciting venture that comes with significant costs, such as board and training fees, equipment expenses, vet and farrier expenses, racing fees, transportation costs, and insurance. However, these costs are a worthwhile investment for owners who enjoy the thrill of watching their horses perform well on the track.

When considering where to buy a horse, prospective owners can purchase claiming horses, attend auctions, work with breeders and trainers, and even purchase horses online. Racehorse ownership is an exciting venture that comes with significant costs and various types of ownership.

From sole ownership to joint ownership, racing partnerships, and even company ownership, each type offers different benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will explore the different types of racehorse ownership and answer frequently asked questions about racehorse ownership.

Types of Racehorse Ownership

Sole Ownership

Sole ownership is the simplest and most traditional form of racehorse ownership. As the name implies, it involves one person owning the racehorse and making all decisions regarding the horse’s care, training, and racing.

While this type of ownership offers complete control over the horse, it also comes with significant costs, including boarding, training, and veterinary expenses.

Joint Ownership

Joint ownership allows two to twelve owners to own a racehorse jointly. This type of ownership allows for shared decision-making, care, training, and profits.

Joint owners can split the costs and responsibilities of horse ownership, making it more affordable than sole ownership. Additionally, joint ownership can provide a more social atmosphere, allowing owners to share the excitement and experiences of owning a racehorse.

Racing Partnership

A racing partnership is a type of ownership that allows up to twenty individuals to jointly own a racehorse. This type of ownership offers a cost reduction compared to traditional ownership, as well as the benefits of having a professionally managed racing operation.

Racing partnerships are often trainer-managed, with the trainer making decisions about the horse’s care, training, and racing. This type of ownership also allows owners to enjoy the social aspect of horse ownership, as racing partnerships often involve groups of friends or associates who enjoy horse racing and socializing.

Company Ownership

Company ownership involves owning a racehorse as part of a business, with shareholders having ownership in the company. This type of ownership allows for tax benefits and advertising opportunities, as well as corporate entertainment options.

Shareholders in the company are responsible for decision-making, but the company management is in charge of managing the horse’s care, training, and racing.


Most Expensive Racehorse Ever Sold

The most expensive racehorse ever sold is Fusaichi Pegasus, a Kentucky Derby winner. Fusaichi Pegasus was sold to Coolmore Stud in Kentucky for $70 million in 2000, setting a record for the highest-priced horse ever sold.

Cost to Enter the Kentucky Derby

To compete in the Kentucky Derby, the entry fee is $25,000, and owners must also pay a nomination fee of $600. Additionally, the horse must have earned qualifying points through top finishes in specific races leading up to the Kentucky Derby, including the Kentucky Derby prep races.

The cost to enter the Kentucky Derby, including preparation, training, and other expenses, can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. The winning horse also receives a cash prize, known as the “purse,” which often amounts to several million dollars.


Racehorse ownership offers excitement and the opportunity to participate in one of the world’s oldest and most beloved sports. Whether owning a racehorse alone or in a group, each type of ownership comes with its benefits and drawbacks.

By considering the various types of ownership and understanding the costs and responsibilities associated with it, prospective owners can make an informed decision about entering the world of racehorse ownership. Racehorse ownership is an exciting and potentially profitable investment but comes with various costs, from board and training fees to racing expenses and transportation costs.

There are different types of racehorse ownership, including sole ownership, joint ownership, racing partnerships, and company ownership, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Prospective owners should consider their goals and resources when deciding which type of ownership aligns with their objectives.

Common racehorse ownership FAQs include the most expensive racehorse ever sold, Fusaichi Pegasus, for $70 million, and the cost to enter the Kentucky Derby, including entry and nomination fees, and additional costs that can add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. When considering horse ownership, it is essential to take into account the various expenses and responsibilities to make an informed decision that aligns with your interests and budget.

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