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What is The Most You Would Pay For a Horse At The Track?

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  • What is The Most You Would Pay For a Horse At The Track?

    Hypothetically, what is the most you would pay for a horse still at the track? Let's assume big, pretty, nice color, correct, seems to have really nice movement, sane, sound (passes the PPE with flying colors), and lightly raced gelding. How much would you add if you were able to see him on a farm where you could get on him?

  • #2
    I'd say that about $2500 would be a reasonable top price. I would add more (maybe $500 or so) only if I could see the horse free jump or jump a little jump with a rider and was pleased with the results. I've put straw bales in roundpens at TB farms before. There are some very nice TBs out there, but I think that the way the market is now TBs are still a somewhat riskier investment than WBs.

    I also think that there is a lot of selection available. So if I found a TB that I liked that the owner/trainer wanted too much money I'd just keep on looking. Some TB owner/trainers have a fantasy that their totally unsuccessful racehorse is sure to be a five or six figure show horse and have no idea how much athleticism plus further training and time/money investment are required to produce such a horse even in the best scenario.

    FWIW I usually pay $1000 or less (often $0) for OTTB prospects, assuming all that you have stated in your post. However, I look at a lot of horses and have a few very good contacts that allow this. I see nothing wrong with paying more assuming that you really like the horse.


    • #3
      I agree with BeeHoney. I just paid $1000 for mine. He is actually the most expensive horse I've bought. I'm not one that wants to pay 3k for a horse still on the track. I can pay 3k and get something that has been off for a little while or something not OTTB in general. With the way the horse market is right now it's easy enough to find. I've seen horses listed in up to 5k on the websites but I just can't see paying that for something with so little training. I don't buy on bloodlines either. I just look for a good horse. I know that some people don't mind paying a lot for their OTTBs. But on a limited budget if I'm going to pay that much, as much as I love my OTTB's I'm going to pay for the most that I can. I don't mind putting work into my own horses, I always do, but I don't want to spend 3-5k on a horse that still has no training when I can get one for less that is just as nice. You just have to know where to find them. Through my most recent purchase I now have a connection at a breeding farm. Things like that will help you out a lot too


      • #4
        As much as I'd pay for the same horse that hadn't come off the track.
        A quality horse is worth money. You can get $500 horses off the track like you can get $500 horses off Craigslist.
        As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


        • #5
          Depends on how nice the horse is. I would spend decent money (more than 2500) for quality. Yes, being at a farm is a bonus, would be willing to spend a little more for the bonus of a better evaluation +PPE by a sport horse vet.
          Unrepentant carb eater


          • #6
            I used to go with $1000 cash and a trailer in the parking lot. Regardless of their asking price, not many can refuse cash in hand and horse gone.
            What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm


            • #7
              Originally posted by Anteup View Post
              I used to go with $1000 cash and a trailer in the parking lot. Regardless of their asking price, not many can refuse cash in hand and horse gone.
              Very true. Many times it's not the amount, but the ability to have the stall empty that seals the deal.

              I have bought several off the track for 1K with the promise to move them immediately.
              Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


              • #8
                I bought my last horse for $2200 at Penn National. Even with a fresh minor bowed tendon he is tall, black, big-boned and gorgeous. He was worth every penny. His trainer had a list of 8 call backs and I believed her. He was on my trailer thee day after he was posted. The nicest horses go fast. I had my eyes on a mare a month prior to seeing this guy and her listing changed to sold as I was looking at it and mulling it over!

                Photos of Al are on my blog in the link below.

                I really like "In a Mellow Tone" who is posted at $4995. I haven't seen her in person but she looks gorgeous. I imagine she's worth it if she is as nice as her photos. Track or not, a nice horse is a nice horse. And whoever said they had no training... they have a ton of training! Most walk trot and canter, stand for baths, clipping and farrier. They've seen crowds and noise and commotion. They have a great start to do anything.
                Doubled Expectations (Roxy, 2001 APHA)
                Al Amir (Al, 2005 OTTB)
                Ten Purposes (Rosie, 2009 OTTB)


                • #9
                  I think that oftentimes trainers ask higher prices even when they are willing to give a horse away because they are want to make sure the horse goes to a good situation and they know that if a good situation comes up they can always come down on the price or give the horse away, but if someone shady shows up they can always refuse to negotiate down. Most racehorse trainers know that it is dangerous to advertise "free" horses because they can end up going for slaughter or being picked up by weirdos or people who don't really have the resources to care for a horse. Believe me, most racetrack trainers do worry about where the horse is ending up and if you appear to be a serious and knowledgeable horse person you stand a better chance of negotiating favorably.


                  • #10
                    I would say it depends what you are planning to do with the horse too. One thing I'm learning from my new trainer is that for a quick resale project, it is really not worth it to the owners if they've spent a lot of money on the initial purchase. Once you add up the costs of board, vet work, and food (if you are boarding on your own property), and training/lessons (if you need it) it rarely adds up if you're paying a large amount. On the other hand, if this is going to be your personal project/"once in a lifetime" type, and the horse is everything you've dreamed of, I'd be willing to pay a lot more.
                    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                    • #11
                      For something that is really sound (hard to find) large enough nice movement etc. If it was a hunter or jumper prospect i'd go up to 5k.


                      • #12
                        Where are all you people, I have a stunning 16.3 hand gelding at the track , I started him over fences last winter, but ran him twice this year, He's sound sane and great over a fence, he jerks his knees to his chin, no takers.....because he's **gasp** a lowly thoroughbred :-( and no I will not give him away, because if you cant' afford to buy the horse , you certainly will not be able to afford to keep the horse.


                        • #13
                          I started doing my own resale projects this year after taking a break from it while we built our farm (I work full-time too!) I have actually had the most sucess with the more expensive horses. I shop for 3-6yr tb geldings who are over 16h and have clean legs. They must be attractive, good conformation, good feet and what I think will amount to good brains (hard to tell at the track). I have paid anywhere from $500-$3k. I don't mind paying a nice chunk of change for a horse that may be lightly raced just slow. Those are hard to find but they are out there.

                          I have some really great contacts both at the track and at various layup/resale facilities. I generally buy off a picture and their word. I know what I like and what I can do well with in terms of retraining/reselling so I just pay for it and have it shipped. You keep your contact by NOT making low ball offers on nice horses. Yes, trainers need to sell horses but they aren't dumb either. I have a lot of people who call me when they have something because they know I am not going to be a pain in the butt shopper and I am comfortable with taking the risk of paying a bit more for a nice horse and hoping it works out.

                          The market is actually very good for ottb's (at least it we have been doing super well selling our CANTER Mid Atlantic horses and my own resale horses) and we are having a hard time finding enough good horses to supply the demand. Tb's are selling for great prices easily with little to no retraining post track (at least in my experience).


                          • #14
                            For the right horse I would probably go to $2500, at the track.


                            • #15
                              I guess I didn't really answer the question... I'd go up to $5000 for the right horse. Having said that I haven't seen one listed yet that I'd pay that much for.
                              Doubled Expectations (Roxy, 2001 APHA)
                              Al Amir (Al, 2005 OTTB)
                              Ten Purposes (Rosie, 2009 OTTB)


                              • #16
                                I didn't say they had NO training. Obviously they W/T/C. But they aren't necessarily taught how to do those kinds of things in the normal sense so you have to retrain them still. I personally would rather spend 5k on one that has already had some time off and is restarted if I'm going to spend that kind of money. I have the money to take care of all my horses by all means. I've never had to fork out a ton of money to get a nice horse, I've had to put in all the work, but not had to spend the money, so I know full well it's possible to get nice horses for less money if you can do the work. Not all the nice ones are higher priced. It depends on the owner or trainer's situation sometimes. And like someone else said. If you show up with cash and a trailer you have a decent shot. You may not go home with that one but if you are seen shopping there is a decent chance that someone will tell you about a horse they have available too that may not even be on the websites. Heck, I was watching the horses work out one morning 10 years ago before everyone else got to the fairgrounds (I worked in the livestock dept) and had a rider stop and ask if I was shopping and tell me about a horse he knew of.


                                • #17
                                  Probably up to the track's minimum claim tag (or the lowest the horse has run for or slightly under.) If I wanted the horse that much.
                                  Author Page
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                                  Steampunk Sweethearts


                                  • #18
                                    I have paid up to $4,500 (in a different market though). On one occasion it was absolutely worth it!!! Another "expensive" track horse was not (through no fault of his, a shady vetting ). It really depends on the individual. I think it also depends greatly on what your intended use for the horse is. If you're doing a short term resale the market for a recently OTTB is not high b/c as others have stated they are a dime a dozen and cheap for ones that don't have an extensive post track show career.
                                    Nani Lio Farm, LLC


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Flypony View Post
                                      Where are all you people, I have a stunning 16.3 hand gelding at the track , I started him over fences last winter, but ran him twice this year, He's sound sane and great over a fence, he jerks his knees to his chin, no takers.....because he's **gasp** a lowly thoroughbred :-( and no I will not give him away, because if you cant' afford to buy the horse , you certainly will not be able to afford to keep the horse.
                                      FlyPony, I completely agree!! It's not just TBs at the track - I think there are pockets of buyers and pockets where the market is totally cold. I have an awesome TB mare (off the track a few years ago) that I retrained, is super sound and sane minded. She's just been sitting in a pasture the last couple years because I went back to school. Started her back recently, and I'm practically giving her away at the price I'm asking, but I've had only 1 tire-kicker so far. It's crappy.
                                      ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

                                      The equine love of my life: Gabriel
                                      4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3


                                      • #20
                                        My top is $5000. And, for that money I have bought horses who were multiple champions at AA shows.

                                        Money well spent. One was priced at $75,000 (failed the vet....) and I turned down $65,000 for another. He became my wonderful ammie horse.

                                        It takes money to make money.
                                        "He lives in a cocoon of solipsism"

                                        Charles Krauthammer speaking about Trump