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Return On Investment

Some people believe that the only way of making a profit on Thoroughbreds is through purses and betting. Nothing could be further from the truth! There are many other ways of making money, as well as other benefits of owning Thoroughbreds that are literally priceless. I’ve listed the ones that spring immediately to mind, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself adding a few of your own.

We'll start with the monetary and work from there.

  • Purses: Most people think that all the listed purse money goes to the winner of the race. The fact is that, depending on the track and/or the type of race, the purse money is divided up among a number of the top finishers. The most common division of winnings in the US is 60% of the purse to the first-place finisher, 20% for second, 10% for third, 5% for fourth, and a percentage for the fifth-place finisher. Some races even pay a piece of the purse to every horse in the race. The majority of the races my horses have raced in paid something to the first five finishers, with the winner receiving 60% of the purse.

  • Betting: Although I don’t recommend this method as a way of making a profit, I do believe that owners have some obvious advantages when it comes to handicapping. If nothing else, you’re around more information than the average bettor. For example, suppose you go to the track early in the morning to see your horse work out, and decide afterward to go to the track kitchen for breakfast. While you’re there, surrounded by jockeys, trainers, and other owners all talking about horses, you hear a trainer mention that a certain horse has been dropped in class just to get a win under him. You can figure out the rest of that story! In addition, being an owner puts you in a better position to evaluate the information you receive. You’ll come to understand how different trainers work, what jockeys are best for which horses, and much more that doesn’t always show up clearly in the Form.

  • Breeding: As you can see from the 2002 stallion chart and the average numbers of mares bred in Kentucky, this part of the business can be extremely lucrative. A racehorse like Point Given can, in his first year at stud, command fees of $125,000.00 per mare, and a stallion can cover as many as a hundred mares in a season. Even a horse that never steps onto the track can command significant fees if its pedigree and numbers are strong enough, and our horse would certainly fall into that category. I strongly believe that, once our horse’s exciting racing career is over, its breeding prospects, managed properly, will offer excellent opportunities for further profits.

  • Sales: Along with breeding, of course, goes the sale of the resulting offspring. If Albert and Beauett’s offspring is a filly, we will have the option of breeding her to major stallions and selling her foals. At nearly every major sale, horses sell for six- and seven-figure prices — and not just as racehorses. When its pedigree is good, a horse may be a bargain at that price and never set foot on a racetrack; its value instead comes from its potential as a sire or dam of other horses, and our horse will carry that kind of pedigree.

Beyond money, however, there are the intangible benefits.

  • New Friendships: A friend once told me that if a person could count his true friends on the fingers of one hand, he was rich. One of my goals is to see that this venture is not made up of a bunch of greedy investors. Rather, my intention is to pull together a group of people who share the same interest, and who can meet regularly to socialize as well as to conduct business. I want us to be profitable, and I want us to have fun.

  • Prestige: There is something special about owning a Thoroughbred. In one sense, it’s a link with a long and impressive history, with a time when the “Sport of Kings” was one of the most popular sports in America, and millionaires, movie stars, and ordinary joes stopped what they were doing to listen to the radio when a horse like Seabiscuit ran his races. And if the computer formulas and the experts are correct when they analyze this mating, our Thoroughbred has a chance of taking his or her place among the greats of the sport.

  • The Horse: The ultimate benefit of owning a Thoroughbred is, of course, the horse itself. For children, there’s no better way to understand the processes of nature than to watch as “their” Thoroughbred is born, grows from foal to racehorse, and then becomes the father or mother of its own foals - and there aren’t many adults who can remain unmoved by the same experience. I hope to have a web-cam present at the birth, and the owners and their families will be invited to visit the foal and even participate in its care when possible. This could allow children to learn to groom “their” horse, to take some small responsibility for its care, and then to watch that same horse mature into a racehorse - as professional an athlete as any basketball or football player, and often a far better role model!

Special Topics


Albert The Great's Retirement Announcement
Lowell Sun, "Little Piece of Kentucky in Dracut, MA", 1/19/02
Discussion on Return on Investment


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50 Pemberton Street
Dracut, MA 01826

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