For most people, horse racing is an ultimate game of luck—but that’s not entirely true. Anyone in the horseracing business will agree that luck is just a part of the larger equation in balancing risks and returns in this kind of venture.
So how much does it cost to own and sustain a thoroughbred horse?
An average of $45,000 a year should be spent not only to train but to maintain a racehorse, at least in popular horseracing regions like Southern California. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- The biggest expense will be in your horse trainer’s daily rate. For instance, experienced trainers have quoted a $95-$120 salary range. This amount will cover vitamins, supplies, feeding and bedding costs, groomers, exercise riders, and pay the necessary taxes depending on which state you live in.
- On top of your trainer’s day fee, you’ll also have to consider veterinarian bills that can range from two hundred to a thousand dollars. In addition, a healthy horse also needs new shoes put on every four to five weeks and expect a monthly cost of $100-$200.
- Jockey fees can be from $40-$500 for small races and big races, respectively. In addition, if the horse is lucky enough to win (place or show), jockeys take a percentage of the winnings.
- Lastly, horse owners should also take transportation fees into account and shoulder other expenses for licenses, taxes and insurance. All can vary by state
Racehorse ownership is relatively expensive so the question that needs to be addressed now is: is it all worth it? Well, horseracing success stories are rare but they happen. For instance, the 2017 Kentucky Derby Purse reached an approximately $2M dollars. Normally, a winning horse takes 60% of the purse for a first place, second place is 20%, and the third spot gives you 12%.