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Estimated Training Costs

What are the estimated expenses to maintain a racehorse in training? It varies, depending on what trainer you select, where you race, veterinary costs, transportation and several additional factors.

The trainer's day rate and the veterinarian charges are the major expenses. Trainer rates can range from  $50 at  smaller racetrack to as much as $120 at a major racing venues. Much of this depends on location, purse structures and the level of experience of your trainer.

In 2014 a detailed survey was conducted with more than 270 Thoroughbred owners from around the US inquiring about the cost of maintaining a racehorse over the period of a year.  The results of that survey are published in the table below:


Veterinary services

Veterinary fees can vary as much as your monthly trainer fees and are dependent upon your trainer's habits and the health of your horse. Be sure you have a candid discussion with your trainer to learn about their philosophy concerning the extent to which a vet is going to be used on a normal day to day basis. Be sure to review this area within OwnerView's Trainer section titled "Methods and Practices" to examine a Trainer's Methods for using a veterinarian to manage his horses.

The options in this section include:
a. Aggressive use of Vet services: > $700 month/horse
b. Moderate use of Vet services: $300-$600 month/horse
c. Occasional use of Vet services: less than $300 month/horse

Please note: This area is a particular sore point with many Owners that did not understand the extent of the Veterinary costs based on the trainer's management style. Be sure you understand this before selecting a trainer.

Other expenses not included in the trainer's day rate include:
  1. Farrier fees; Racehorses are shod and re-shod every 2-4 weeks.
  2. Vanning; Many times your horse may ship to another track to race. Vanning charges can be significant depending on how far the horse is shipped and the carrier
  3. Trainer Travel costs; When your horse ships to another track, your trainer must go too. Often, trainers will charge their Owners for travel costs including mileage, hotel and possibly airline tickets. Ask your trainer about travel costs.
  4. Feed Supplements; There are a wide variety of feed supplements used by trainers to improve your horse's health and training routine. Ask your trainer what costs to expect each month for feed supplements and additives.
  5. Race Day charges; The day your horse races can involve "Other" charges such as bandages, run-down patches, groom to lead your horse to the paddock and cooling out and a lead-pony/rider to take your horse to the starting gate.
  6. Percent of Earnings: Most trainers charge an Owner 10% of the race earnings from each Start where a horse earns a check.