The Cost to Run for the Roses
How much does it cost to buy a horse who can "run for the roses" in the Kentucky Derby? The short answer is quite a bit because the training and board, along with travel, vet, equipment and entry fees can be extremely expensive, especially if you want to put your horse with a top trainer. All that aside, there is still the initial cost of the horse.
There are three types of horses running, those sold privately, those sold at auction and homebreds, raised and raced by the same owners. Both private sales and home-raised horses can be difficult to assign a value to, but the results of auctions are made public, which can give us a general idea of what it takes to race.
All the colts that run in the Kentucky Derby are three year olds, so they generally have a full racing season under their belts (or girths) at the running of the race. Purchasing a colt as a yearling or before is risky because buyers a paying for bloodlines and what they think the horse will be able to do. A.P. Warrior, the most expensive runner, is a prime example of this because his sire is AP Indy, the leading sire in North America and son of Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. A.P. Warrior's breeding said that he would be a good runner and his owners paid a premium for that. The colts sold as 2 year olds in training, while still young, can present a slightly better picture of their potential to buyers and the prices come up and down accordingly. Sales of good runners once they are three are much less common, as people who own winners want to hang on to them, though Sinister Minister, a sprinter, was purchased earlier this year as a 3 year old.
Here are the purchase prices of the contenders for the 132nd Kentucky Derby and how old they were at the time of purchase:
A.P. Warrior: $1.3 million (1 y.o.)
Jazil: $725,000 (1 y.o.)
Storm Treasure: $170,000 (1 y.o.)
Keyed Entry: $145,000 (1 y.o.)
Point Determined: $750,000 (2.y.o)
Steppenwolfer: $375,000 (2 y.o.)
Brother Derek: $275,000 (2 y.o.)
Flashy Bull: $205,000 (2 y.o.)
Private Vow: $180,000 (2 y.o.)
Showing Up: $60,000 (2 y.o.)
Cause to Believe: $30,000 (2 y.o.)
Sinister Minister: $300,000 (3-y.o.), bought not at auction but off the track at a Santa Anita, CA claming race.
Sweetnorthernsaint was a private purchase.
The homebreds in the race have precedent, as well as sentiment, on their side this year, as the last two winners of the Derby were homebreds. They include Lawyer Ron, Barbaro, Bob and John, Bluegrass Cat, Sharp Humor, Deputy Glitters, and Seaside Retreat.