The Ultimate Kentucky Derby Guide
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The Crazy Cost of Owning A Kentucky Derby-Worthy Thoroughbred

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Congratulations! It’s your 25th birthday and your trust fund has finally kicked in.

No? You haven’t got one? Well, no matter. I’m sure you just sold your startup for a high eight figure check.

Nope? You’re starting to make this a little difficult. Maybe you just found a mint Honus Wagner T206 baseball card in your attic?

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Buying a thoroughbred

According to Forbes, the average initial investment for a thoroughbred racehorse is $30,000. This might not seem so bad, but each horse is usually purchased between four partners. So, if you’re looking to keep all the glory for yourself, it’ll cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of $120,000.

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Finding a place for it

While keeping a horse at pasture can be a relatively cheap proposition (about $100/month), a top-class stable like those where Derby horses live can cost the same as a studio apartment in Louisville. And if your horse is living in $500/month digs, you’d better negotiate a deal where hay is included.

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Hiring a Derby-worthy trainer

The most important part of getting your horse Derby-ready is getting a world-class trainer. For a few hours of workouts each day with your future champion, such a trainer might charge $120 -- but if you want to monopolize his time leading up to the Derby, it’ll cost exponentially more.

Paying your jockey

If and when your horse actually wins, don’t forget about the man or woman who actually made that success possible on the track -- jockeys typically receive 10% of an owner’s winnings.


Feeding and shoeing the horse

Usually included as part of the lump sum owners pay a stable by the year, keeping a Derby horse roofed, shod, and comfortably fed for the year will run you upwards of $45,000.

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The vet

According to the Back in the Saddle Project, twice-yearly visits from the horse doctor will run $200 each, plus the cost of two $55 farm calls -- even vets don’t make free house calls.

Grand total: Around $170,000 a year! May the odds be ever in your favor.