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How much would you pay for a warhorse OTTB still on the track?

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  • How much would you pay for a warhorse OTTB still on the track?

    How much would you pay?
    toying with the idea of buying a warhorse OTTB (40 plus starts, 8 years old, won $130k.)

    I've never bought one right off the track. I've had them very recently letdown, lightly restarted. The contact that connected me with the trainer is someone I trust very much which is really only reason I'm considering it!

    He's got great conformation, great bloodlines for racing and Dressage (my choice discipline.) I'm told that he's pretty well broke undersaddle but I won't be able to see that unfortunately. The trainer seemed very honest, obviously loves the horse very much. I even was given the number to his breeder (where he wintered during his career as well.) I have the green light to vet, have access to vet records ect. Although he's very clean legged.

    He definitely needs some let down. He looks a bit muscle sore and whole he was well mannered, he definitely was a sensitive guy. I have no problem letting him down and having him restarted with a trainer.

    But it is a risk. The pricing is a little high for me for a horse of his age and size on the track (he's smaller, fine for me though.) They are asking over $3k. He is a nice horse but I still feel like I'll be going into it a bit blind (other than hopefully a good PPE.)

    And yes maybe it's just not for me. I just see so many nice ones restarted for $4 or $5k. They just are usually 1500 miles from me. This guy is 40 mins away!

  • #2
    It really depends.

    TBs have the bad luck of having very low resale values for years as retired racehorses- to the point you could get a good horse for meat price when you couldn't get that same kind of quality from a WB or QH for less than $10k.. but in the last ten years or so, I have seen trainers listing these horses for more ($2k-5k). I think that range is fair; the TB needs to be recognized as the versatile breed it is, and other horses of similar worldly exposure tend to go for that price range. Them having a higher resale value is beneficial for them mostly, and likely, helps keep many of them off of meat-trucks.

    If you were looking to flip this horse, $3k is probably the max number you could do, and still retain some sort of profit if you flipped within 90 days or less.

    That many starts means you have a horse that is very strong -- mentally and physically. However, getting to warhorse status doesn't come without its share of baggage; he may need longer a let-down, or he may have some old complaints that limit his UL potential. The war horses always have back pain in my experience, so treating that ASAP and giving them some downtime in full turnout always helps.

    I like the war-horses, I think they don't get to that age and # of starts with some sort of steel to them. To me that is a positive, as I can look at their record and know they are proven to hold a job - the hardest job -- which usually means they transition to a less stressful career like it's a cake-walk.

    Down the road you may find they need some maintenance, but most horses need maintenance in their teens, and I haven't had my warhorses need more than my non-starters in general.

    A warhorse isn't a surefire guarantee of a sound horse, but I don't think they are any worse a gamble than the horse that had 15 starts. If anything, you know they're professionals -- and that is a very good trait to have in a horse.

    The one other detractor, and it is a small one, is that sometimes you have to spend a bit longer "undoing" the training a warhorse has, vs a horse with a shorter career. You might find you spend longer working on true relaxation and working over your back with them, because they spent so long protecting it and working hard.

    Do you have a link or pics?

    So to really answer your question.. it depends on the horse in front of me. If it checked all my boxes, I would pay $5k for the right horse that came along -- but I find for my persnickety tastes, those are few and far between. The being a warhorse, or the # of starts, would not make me pay more or less and would not be a bargaining tool.
    AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with beowulf on all of her points. In my area war horses can go for as much as $7k depending on their breeding, temperament and vet-ability. Some with lines that are less desirable, have jewelry and/or confirmation that is a but wonky may go as low as $1k. Heck there was a horse who had over 100 races sell for $2k! He was sound as sound could be and his new owner posts about him regularly.

      The horse I bought last year had 14 starts and was extremely well traveled. I got him at a bargain price, not because I thought he was worth less than what they were asking but because my agent spoke to the owners and promised I would give him a good home. I made it 100% clear if he didn't want to do what I wanted, I would get him a good home in a career that he would love. I took home a horse that would have listed for $2-$3k more than what I paid. Luckily for both of us he does enjoy his job and my agent has passed on the photos of us together to his past owners that I have posted.

      For me a horse with 40+ starts, good confirmation and breeding, with vet records and being able to speak to both the trainer and breeder actually gives you better info than a lot of OTTB buyers get. I would be willing to pay $3k for the right horse who I could start playing with after a let down.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        beowulf
        ​​​​​​

        ​​​​Thanks! My first Ottb was a warhorse too ( more starts but younger.) He was given some time off and lightly restarted though. He really was a great horse (still is!) So I'm definitely not afraid of a warhorse.

        But following others who resale, trying other warhorses out ect it seems that the warhorses either at the track or restarted, aren't going for as much. I know Jessica Redman has one that's similar to the one I'm looking at it as far as starts and he's priced for $3500. But he's had a few weeks of letdown and been lightly restarted. Unfortunately they are on the other side of the country.

        I definitely don't want to resale. But since I'm buying off the track and am not a trainer, the potential that he might not work out and would be to find a new home is there. I'm definitely willing to give him time off, help with his body, a few months training to see how things will work out. But the market around here lately with horses in programs with trainers who restart them are going from $3000 to $5,000. That's for a started on the flat only, already let down horse. If they are jumping, the price seems to increase a lot. (If you are wondering why I don't go buy these horses, well I've looked at them. No dice for what I'm looking for and selection seems limited.

        But maybe it's just not for me, I don't know. I think I'd be fine with the process but it's definitely more of a risk for me. Maybe a trainer would be here off (I'd definitely pay $5 or $6k for this horse knowing more and being able to see him already started.) I know the owner said she really wanted him to go to his own person and not for resale. I know she said she's negotiable but I'm horrible at doing that! I don't want to offend anyone because I have a bit of cold feet.
        ​​​​​​​


        ​​​​​​


        Comment


        • #5
          Having seen pics of the horse in question, I don't think "over $3k" is outrageous (assuming it's also under $4k lol). He is quite lovely. If he were younger I'd definitely expect him to be priced around that on CANTER and more through a good reseller. I'm not quite sure how to adjust my expectations for his age though.

          Maybe look at it like this...factor in $X for let-down, vet work, and a month or two of retraining, then compare that amount to the prices you're seeing for already-restarted TBs that you believe are comparable. (Also consider that a lot of horses aren't as nice or as well restarted as they look in their ads, and that many horses don't sell for the advertised price.)

          I don't know how helpful that is, sorry. IMO horse prices are kind of all over the place so rather than trying to decide what the horse is objectively "worth" I ask myself if I'm comfortable spending $X on Y horse, knowing everything I know about it. If you're not comfortable, then negotiate or keep looking. And please don't feel pressured in any way just because the seller is a friend of a friend.

          Originally posted by beowulf View Post
          The being a warhorse, or the # of starts, would not make me pay more or less and would not be a bargaining tool.
          Warhorse status alone wouldn't for me either, but I'd guess it often goes hand in hand with x-ray findings and higher age. This horse is 8, which wouldn't bother me but I suspect might turn a lot of people off. I feel like those things should factor in, even if the number of starts itself doesn't. Right?
          Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm: http://thesmallhorsefarm.blogspot.com

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            horseshorseshorseshorses what area are you in? I've never seen a horse on the track for $7k! But we are definitely in an area where the local track as a reputation for low qaulity horses. All the resellers get horses from elsewhere in the country. The ones that come off the track here often given away or very cheap. But they usually aren't nice.

            This one definitely is nice though. I might be too chicken of a buyer though. Still thinking on it. Wish someone had him in training already!

            Comment


            • #7
              "Warhorse" means nothing to me either. A huge number of barely run horses break down due to footing, training methods, sheer bad luck, and on and on - nothing to do with their inherent potential longevity. And horses that run for years? Just getting closer to breaking down, in all likelihood - years of racing is very, very hard on a body. Having run a lot is absolutely not an indicator that a horse is perfectly sound and will remain so.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post
                "Warhorse" means nothing to me either. A huge number of barely run horses break down due to footing, training methods, sheer bad luck, and on and on - nothing to do with their inherent potential longevity. And horses that run for years? Just getting closer to breaking down, in all likelihood - years of racing is very, very hard on a body. Having run a lot is absolutely not an indicator that a horse is perfectly sound and will remain so.
                Not sure where you are getting your information from, but it's wrong. Having run a lot IS ABSOLUTELY an indicator that a horse is sound and will remain so. Its also most likely an indicator that the horse has been well managed throughout it's career.

                Where are you getting your "huge number of barely run horses break down?" This information is tracked on the Equine Injury Database.

                Lunabear1988 - you don't have to "let down" the horse. He is probably used to training every day, and I'd just go on with him as long as he is sound enough to do so. You don't have to work him hard, but he is mentally in a training frame of mind, so doing some ground work and light hacking would fit right into his daily routine. And save you some time in getting him sold. Good luck with him!
                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by horseshorseshorseshorses View Post
                  I agree with beowulf on all of her points. In my area war horses can go for as much as $7k depending on their breeding, temperament and vet-ability. Some with lines that are less desirable, have jewelry and/or confirmation that is a but wonky may go as low as $1k. Heck there was a horse who had over 100 races sell for $2k! He was sound as sound could be and his new owner posts about him regularly.

                  The horse I bought last year had 14 starts and was extremely well traveled. I got him at a bargain price, not because I thought he was worth less than what they were asking but because my agent spoke to the owners and promised I would give him a good home. I made it 100% clear if he didn't want to do what I wanted, I would get him a good home in a career that he would love. I took home a horse that would have listed for $2-$3k more than what I paid. Luckily for both of us he does enjoy his job and my agent has passed on the photos of us together to his past owners that I have posted.

                  For me a horse with 40+ starts, good confirmation and breeding, with vet records and being able to speak to both the trainer and breeder actually gives you better info than a lot of OTTB buyers get. I would be willing to pay $3k for the right horse who I could start playing with after a let down.

                  There is no way someone is selling a "war horse" off the track to a non racing home for 7k.
                  http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post

                    Not sure where you are getting your information from, but it's wrong. Having run a lot IS ABSOLUTELY an indicator that a horse is sound and will remain so. Its also most likely an indicator that the horse has been well managed throughout it's career.

                    Where are you getting your "huge number of barely run horses break down?" This information is tracked on the Equine Injury Database.

                    Lunabear1988 - you don't have to "let down" the horse. He is probably used to training every day, and I'd just go on with him as long as he is sound enough to do so. You don't have to work him hard, but he is mentally in a training frame of mind, so doing some ground work and light hacking would fit right into his daily routine. And save you some time in getting him sold. Good luck with him!
                    I'm going to agree with Xanthoria. I think you can find a horse who's run 2 races and isn't going to hold up, or a horse that has ran 100 races and is "track sound" but is going to have some wear and tear and arthritis that would be noticeable in a private home
                    http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I think it depends. I personally do like warhorses but it's still a toss up! This horse has clearly been cared for, run well but not too hard. He's 8 years old with 40 starts.

                      I guess what is holding me back is if he doesn't work out, at 8 or 9 years old, he might be a harder sell in my state. Maybe not others but the OTTBs haven't been selling here this year, it seems. Past years yes, so maybe it's just the current market/stock.

                      I have no qualms with him having ran a decent amount of he vets okay. But I can't 100% be sure that he'll work out, so I do need to think about what happens if I need to resell (I hope not!!)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lunabear1988 I'm in the PNW so I see adds for horses up and down the west coast. At the beginning of the season this year at Emeralds there were 3 or 4 very nice war horses listed for over $5k. The one listed for $7k had extensive training outside of racing but was also available for a racing home. He seemed like a pretty cool dude and got snapped up quickly.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Palm Beach View Post
                          Where are you getting your "huge number of barely run horses break down?" This information is tracked on the Equine Injury Database.
                          Per http://jockeyclub.com/pdfs/eid_10_year_tables.pdf the older a horse gets, the more likely it is to have a fatal injury during a race (ie the warhorse theory not holding up). I don't see any data from the EID that tracks number of starts to non-fatal injuries though - do you have that information?

                          A quick peruse of CANTER or any other OTTB group shows that a great many of their horses have tendon, ligament and cartilage issues related to racing, as well as bone and hoof issue. And a great many of those are horses who didn't race much.

                          And when you read the data at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raceho...ehorsesite1-37 a great many musculoskeletal issues are high in younger horses - "70% of young Thoroughbred racehorses in training develop (bucked shins), usually in the first six months." which "...force 7% of racehorses to retire." "...young horses and those returning to exercise from lay-off are those most expected to suffer from tendinitis (bowed tendons)." "The incidence of tendon injuries is approximately 30% among Thoroughbred racehorses in training" "Bowed tendons force 25% of racehorses to retire and are the most common non-fatal career-ending injury. Racehorses are so often retired after tendinitis because as many as 70% will not be able to return to their previous level of performance and more than 66% of them will have a recurrence of injury."

                          Those stats alone mean that yes, a huge number of barely run horses are breaking down at the track. And with horses averaging abut 6 starts per year, and most of them only running a year or two until they suffer an injury that causes them to retire...?

                          My definition of "barely run" and yours are perhaps different?

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Palm Beach his connections actually recommended at least a month of let down. I certainly could probably do at least ground work though. He's definitely a little muscle sore and they put him into pasture every winter. I guess I'd just need to play it by ear. Hoping to see him again this week and then vet him if I'm still feeling he could be a good one. He certainly has been really well cared for and I love his conformation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Xanthoria View Post

                              Per http://jockeyclub.com/pdfs/eid_10_year_tables.pdf the older a horse gets, the more likely it is to have a fatal injury during a race (ie the warhorse theory not holding up). I don't see any data from the EID that tracks number of starts to non-fatal injuries though - do you have that information?

                              A quick peruse of CANTER or any other OTTB group shows that a great many of their horses have tendon, ligament and cartilage issues related to racing, as well as bone and hoof issue. And a great many of those are horses who didn't race much.

                              And when you read the data at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raceho...ehorsesite1-37 a great many musculoskeletal issues are high in younger horses - "70% of young Thoroughbred racehorses in training develop (bucked shins), usually in the first six months." which "...force 7% of racehorses to retire." "...young horses and those returning to exercise from lay-off are those most expected to suffer from tendinitis (bowed tendons)." "The incidence of tendon injuries is approximately 30% among Thoroughbred racehorses in training" "Bowed tendons force 25% of racehorses to retire and are the most common non-fatal career-ending injury. Racehorses are so often retired after tendinitis because as many as 70% will not be able to return to their previous level of performance and more than 66% of them will have a recurrence of injury."

                              Those stats alone mean that yes, a huge number of barely run horses are breaking down at the track. And with horses averaging abut 6 starts per year, and most of them only running a year or two until they suffer an injury that causes them to retire...?

                              My definition of "barely run" and yours are perhaps different?
                              You are not reading the tables correctly. There is one category for horses that are 4&up, and the breakdown rate is not significantly higher than the rate for 3yos, and horses cab race up to age 11 in some areas. Most years, the difference between 2yos and 3yos is greater than the 3yos to 4yos and up. And your wiki information is laughable. If you want to understand bucked shins, read Nunamakers shin study, not wiki.
                              "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Lunabear1988 View Post
                                Palm Beach his connections actually recommended at least a month of let down. I certainly could probably do at least ground work though. He's definitely a little muscle sore and they put him into pasture every winter. I guess I'd just need to play it by ear. Hoping to see him again this week and then vet him if I'm still feeling he could be a good one. He certainly has been really well cared for and I love his conformation.
                                Glad to hear that!! You sure you don’t want to keep him for yourself?
                                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Palm Beach oh yes, I do! Sorry, I know my post is a bit of ramble. I don't want to resell. I want a horse for Dressage. But since I can't really get to know him or ride him beforehand, I am just thinking of will, I be able to sell him at his age (and green for whatever discipline) if things didn't workout. Maybe I shouldn't even think that way.

                                  He's freaking gorgeous though. Normally I'd prefer something restarted at least lightly.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by horseshorseshorseshorses View Post
                                    Lunabear1988 I'm in the PNW so I see adds for horses up and down the west coast. At the beginning of the season this year at Emeralds there were 3 or 4 very nice war horses listed for over $5k. The one listed for $7k had extensive training outside of racing but was also available for a racing home. He seemed like a pretty cool dude and got snapped up quickly.
                                    I was just about to say literally this (howdy neighbor!). The major rehoming network out here isn't affiliated with CANTER to the best of my knowledge, and prices on nice horses can be a bit higher than you'd usually see from CANTER.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post


                                      There is no way someone is selling a "war horse" off the track to a non racing home for 7k.
                                      There is, but it's not super common.

                                      Depends on the location, some tracks have better quality horses than others. You'd have a very hard time selling a horse at Suffolk or Mountaineer for that number, but it's easier at the tracks with stiffer competition and better quality reputations.

                                      Finger Lakes, for instance, has sold a few north of the $5k range, including some really nice Stonesider and Big Brown horses. These horses tend to be trainer listings, which are separate from adoptable CANTER horses (you probably know the difference).

                                      Emerald Downs has a yearly sale of turf horses, and those horses go for $5k+ to non-racing homes with some frequency. People will pay good money for the turf and chasing horses.

                                      There was a Musketier horse at Emerald Downs a few years ago, that went for $6k IIRC.

                                      Of course, there are some trainers that are a bit unrealistic when they list their horse for that price -- but some of them are right on the money when they have the right quality horse and know it.
                                      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My personal experience with race horses is that the ones that race a bit and come off the track are more likely to come off the track with physical issues than the ones that race longer. Those that never make it to the track are generally the most sound. My trainer has about 40 race horses and ex-race horses at a time.

                                        Depending on the horse, war horses do have a tendency to have more trouble with suppling and calming down than the younger ones just because they spent so many years at the "go fast" job. That being said, I rode a graded stakes horse that turned into an overgrown lesson pony when he came off the track - pulling to grass, kick ride, very ho hum to the point where we galloped in a group with someone looking at one of the others to buy and he happily stayed in the back with a loose rein.

                                        It has also been my experience that the ones that have more trouble adjusting are also more high strung in general - so at the training facility (or track, if that's where he is) is he bouncing around on the end of the line? Is he stall weaving, pacing or otherwise acting nervous? Some will chill out once off the track but my experience is chill at the track, chill elsewhere; high strung at the track more likely to remain high strung (again, not a 100% - I could tell you all kinds of horses that do not fit this mold just giving general statistics).

                                        Also, 8 years old wouldn't bother me and we have found homes for 8+ year old "warhorses"....not homes at $3K, but homes. Ours are also generally off the track with no additional training or just very light training. If you really like him and that's a good rate in your area, go for it.

                                        If you are offering a good home, the trainer or owner may be willing to come down on the price.

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