Average Racehorse Price And Its Maintenance Costs

Horse racing is a renowned sporting event. The sturdy horses with their athletic bodies trailing on a racecourse are surely a spectacle to watch. This makes us wonder about the cost of owning and maintaining a racehorse. The price of a racehorse ranges between $75,000 and can go up to millions.

In this article, we discuss the costs to purchase a racehorse and the expenses of maintenance. All served right up!

Racehorse Price Range

The price tag on a regular racehorse may be as low as $75,000 and as high as $10 million. The price highly depends on the breed of horse, its pedigree, and studbook status. To say the least, racehorses are expensive; the reason being, the event of race horsing itself is high-profile, as it is more commonly enjoyed by the elite.

Royalties often purchase racehorses costing as much as $400,000 to $990,000 just so they can snub off to their rivals. Apart from all this, the purchasing of a racehorse is just the start. In addition to that, there are other recurring expenses like its training and handling fees, providing quality feed to maintain fitness and agility, to be accounted for.

Racehorses are different from the usual horses. Although they look the same, the ordinary horses are nowhere near the racehorses as regards the build, speed, agility, and endurance. And that, folks, is why the racehorses are priced higher (in fact way higher) than the regular equines. To add a cherry on top of the cream, a stud costs even more as it is capable of showcasing great finesse and clocking higher speeds on the racetrack.

Talk about expensive horses which are mostly sold at auctions or are passed on as legacies, the most expensive racehorse ever sold was the Fusaichi Pegasus at a staggering price of $64 million. The reason why the horse had such a costly price tag was that it had won races worth a hundred million. However, following its famous auction sale, it lost its form and couldn’t keep up the winning streak.

Well, another thing to note is that buying a racehorse so it wins you big bags of cash isn’t entirely the reason people buy racehorses. Of course, if you’re able to afford one, it would mean you’re doing it for the Sunday morning derby, sitting at the top-tier deck with a cigar in hand and the sight of your horse leaving a trail behind for the others.

What Factors Influence The Price Of A Racehorse?

The price of a racehorse is influenced by the following factors.

Horse Breed

Without a doubt, the first thing that would strike you after making up your mind to buy a racehorse would be, the breed. What horse breeds are ideal to purchase as racehorses? We answer the question here.

There are quite many classes of horse breeds capable of trailing the race track yet, the more common types are;


The most popular and famous horses specifically equipped with the physique and build to run the long yard are the thoroughbreds. Thoroughbreds cost anywhere between $99,000 and $290,000, with up to $44,900 of annual maintenance costs.

They are called Thoroughbreds because they are bred thoroughly. There are, of course, further subtypes of Thoroughbreds but that’s an article for another day.


Although the Standardbreds are more renowned for a slightly different fraternity of horseracing, however, they almost invariably have a demand for conventional horse racing as well. Standardbreds trained for horse racing may cost anywhere around $1,490 and $4,900 which again, depends on its status of health, studbook designation, and training. Standardbreds are a good choice for beginners opting to purchase a low-budget racehorse.


The all-around horse breed which has a popular demand in agile and high endurance racings due to its smooth handling capability is the Arabian. The Arabians, like the Thoroughbreds, are expensive racehorses and may cost anywhere between $24,900 and $299,000 depending on pedigree and racecourse training. Their monthly expenses can be as much as $300 to $800. It should be noted that we are specifically talking about the Arabian horse breed trained for horseracing and thus, it speaks for the expensive price tag than the usual non-racing Arabian Type.

Quarter horses

While their name says Quarter horses, there’s absolutely nothing Quarter about them. As a matter of fact, they are sturdier and robust accelerating horses than the others. Quarter horses are used for short track racing because they can accelerate up to very high velocities in a short time.

The racing quarter stallion may cost between $24,900 and $99,000. Additional miscellaneous charges may be over $1,000 per annum.


It all comes down to the genes of the horse breed which determines its pedigree and blood lineage. A Purebred racehorse, like any other horse, costs more than the usual one. One can go with the expression that a horse bred of pureblood would have the stimulus and potential of winning more races. Purebred horses almost certainly have a specific studbook designation (the reason why studs are costly) and this compels the owner to demand more money for the horse. Stud fees may range from $185,000 to $300,000 for the more expensive Racehorses.


A racehorse of its prime age capable of winning circuit records is only as capable as its age allows it. A two-year-old horse is considered to have the maximum potential of training capacity and sprinting the racetrack. Therefore, it costs more than a yearling racehorse or an aged one, unless it has proven winning records on the long yard.

Furthermore, aging plays an important factor in the performance and effective horsepower of the racehorse which may result in various diseases and maladies. The cost and value both drastically fall for an average racehorse following advancing age. Racehorses usually retire by the age of 10.

Origin Of Purchase

If there was an editor’s choice for the most important factor impacting the price of a racehorse, that would definitely be the place of purchase. Auctions provide all the varieties of racehorses and their ranges of pricing. From the cheapest price tag to the most expensive racehorses sold in the world, all happen at auctions.

Another source of purchase of a racehorse may be from a previous owner who is willing to sell. But this depends if the horse has had notable accolades to its name on the racing pitch.

Racetrack Achievements

Without a doubt, a racehorse that has numerous winning streaks and multiple achievements to its name would cost more than a horse with lesser accomplishment. Apart from the impact of racetrack achievements, the winnings of a racehorse may amount to millions which can certainly sky-rocket the price of the racehorse. Even if it ages, the high price is still maintained as it has the winning blood in it.

Maintenance Costs Of A Racehorse

Purchasing an actual racehorse itself isn’t nearly the monetarily stressing effort as the maintenance and auxiliary costs thereof. Maintenance comes with both annual charges and maintenance responsibilities which incredibly affect the on-track performance of the racehorse. Of the many maintenance factors, the more significant ones are mentioned below;

Veterinary And Health Examination Bills

Just like a racecar needs a regular fine-tune and auto parts evaluation, the same way a turbo-charged racehorse requires proper and scheduled veterinary examination. The more expensive a racehorse is, the more likely its medical bills are susceptible to rise. However, an average racehorse’s medical checkup may burden your expenses by up to $500 a month.

Training Surcharges

The magma of all the expenses to keep a racehorse is its training and provision charges. Good trainers cover all the ancillary requirements of a racehorse; from preparation for the racetrack to feeding and transportation.

Apart from all this, the trainer’s fee also includes the racehorse’s overall upkeep. A professional trainer may charge around $1,900 to $3,900 per month for your racehorse.

Hooves Upkeep Expenses

Racehorses require immense care for their hooves, which, unlike ordinary horses, require regular polishing and rigorous shoe change.

The Ferrier expenses may cost almost equal to your vet’s charges and the figure can be around $300 to $500 a month. Bear in mind that changing horseshoes is as important as changing the tires of an automobile.

Lodgings And Stables

Lodgings and stable expenses account for one-time expenses. However, the fact should not be ignored that a racehorse’s performance on the track is highly dependable on the environment and temperature it is provided in resting conditions. All this is courtesy of the lodgings of a racehorse.

The trainers usually recommend a cooler and less humid environment for the racehorse and thus, it is favorable for your racehorse if the stables are in correspondence with the trainer’s recommendations.

Well-built and properly ventilated stables with installed air-conditioning (an add-on) may cost you, anything between $24,900 to $425,000, if it is a full-fledged barn with state-of-the-art facilities.

Racehorse Insurance Expenses

One more factor differentiating a racehorse from an ordinary horse is its insurance. The majority of the horses you witness on the racetrack are completely insured and it has many reasons to be.

One greater reason is that, because they are expensive and a lot of money is spent on them yearly, they ought to be insured.

Secondly, racehorses are highly prone to injuries while training or running the long yard, therefore, the owners tend to have them insured to avoid such unforeseen circumstances. If for example, your racehorse costs somewhere around $100,000, the average annual insurance charges would amount to at least $10,000 or $839 per month.

Racetrack Registration charges

Last, we discuss the elephant in the room. How much does it cost to enter a horse into a race? This is in addition to the maintenance costs of the racehorse.

Most of the races do not charge for entering a racehorse. However, high-stakes races charge from hundreds of dollars up to a million dollars.

The entry fee for the Kentucky Derby (North America’s largest Horse Racing event) starts from $25,000. This is in addition to the nomination fee which is $600 for early nomination and $6,000 for late nomination.

In most of the Horse Racing events around the world, the entry fees overall sum up to the prize money of the winning horse.

Miscellaneous charges

Now if someone asks you how much does it cost to keep a racehorse? Or what are the maintenance charges of a racehorse? You ought to answer them with this elaborate picture;

One Time Expenses: 
Retail Price of the RacehorseStarting average $75,000 and up to $50 million
Horse Lodgings and StablesStarting $24,900 and up to $425,000 for a barn
Monthly Expenses: 
Medical examination and Veterinary checkupRanges between $500 and $800
Trainer’s fee, transportation, and upkeep chargesRanges between $1,900 and $3,900
Insurance chargesRanges between $839 and $1500 
Farrier expensesRanges between $300 and $500
Miscellaneous chargesAround $500

FAQs Regarding Average Racehorse Price And Its Maintenance Costs

Owning and maintaining a racehorse requires complete knowledge regarding its upkeep. You may be having a number of questions in this regard, and so we have tried to cover most of them in this section.

How much does it actually cost to own a racehorse?

Racehorses, unlike regular horses, don’t come cheap. They are expensive and have every right to be. An average racehorse starts at a price tag of $75,000 and up to millions of dollars. The cost depends mainly on the pedigree, breed, studbook status, and health of the horse. Not to forget mentioning, the worth of a racehorse is also highly dependent on the number of racing records it has won.

What is the cost of maintaining a racehorse?

The maintenance charges, auxiliary, and upkeep expenses may rocket up to $8000 a month. To break it down, these charges include Veterinary bills, insurance fees, trainer’s charges including provisions and transportation costs, farrier expenses, and other miscellaneous charges. One-time costs, apart from purchasing the racehorse, also include spending on its accommodation. Accommodation may stress your purse by $25,000 at least.

How much does it cost to feed a racehorse?

A thousand-pound horse requires relatively lesser feed which may cost around $0.70 per day and $20 a month. The feeding expenses are, however, covered in the trainer’s fee as the trainer knows what’s best to feed your racing horse with.
A good trainer may charge anywhere between $1,900 to $3,900 per month.

Is owning a racehorse profitable?

Although horseracing is full of risks and uncertainties, people don’t actually buy racehorses to get profit. The wealthy people usually do it to boast off the price tags of their racehorses on a Derby. If on the other hand, one is lucky enough and has sound knowledge of the horse racing industry, he/she may have higher chances of winning.

Which is the cheapest horse breed?

Racehorses are expensive and may cost up to millions. However, looking on the less expensive side, you may find some horses such as the Mustang, Paint Horse, Standardbred, and Quarter horse. These horses may be purchased for as low as $3000.

Which is the most expensive horse ever been sold?

The most expensive horse ever sold was a racehorse named Fusaichi Pegasus. It was sold at a staggering price of $64 million. The reason why it was sold this expensive was because of its numerous winning records on the racetrack. The winnings would amount up to a hundred million. The horse after the auction sale, however, couldn’t live up to expectations until its stud fee fell at $7,500 compared to $200,000 back in its prime time.

What is the average expected life expectancy of a racehorse?

An average racehorse may live for 25-27 years depending on how much care it has been provided with. A racehorse’s age is also highly subject to its health conditions. The horse is likely to die at an early age if it is afflicted with any disease. Racehorses retire usually during the age of 8-10 while some are forced into retirement following recurrent poor displays of athleticism on the race track.

Race Horsing And Beyond…

To sum up the whole story short, purchasing a racehorse at an average price of $75,000 is just the tip of the iceberg. Then comes the expense of not only maintaining your racehorse but also registering it as a racecourse entry, which may shell out thousands of dollars each month. If you’re investing in a racehorse, then unfortunately it ought to be a tough gamble. With luck and immense horse racing experience, you may have the chance of turning the whole horse racing gamble into a profitable one.