A racehorse may be purchased several ways:
1) Public auction
This option allows you and your advisors to hand-pick horses from various auctions to fill your stable. The different types of auctions include:
- Two-year old training auctions where your trainer can advise you in the purchase of a horse two years of age that may be close to making its first start.
- Yearling auctions where you and your trainer can purchase a younger horse that may race in the following year. View a short video of a yearling auction
- Weanling auctions which are generally referred to as Mixed Sales where foals from the current year are offered at auction. Keep in mind it may be two years before the weanling is ready to race.
- Mixed Sales where "ready to race" racing prospects are offered at public auctions along with broodmares that can be purchased to raise your own racehorse from birth. Obviously raising your own racehorse from birth takes 2-3 years to get to the races. But this option can be very rewarding to race what is referred to as a "Home Bred".
Click here to view a publication distributed by the CBA (Consignor and Commercial Breeders Association).
Many owners use the "Claim Box" to purchase a horse out of a claiming race. This option allows an owner the quickest method to have a horse racing in their name. Horses can be claimed for as little as $5,000 or up to $100,000. Many trainers specialize at this end of the game and have experienced excellent success. If this is your method to purchase a horse, be sure your trainer has a proven track record in the claiming game. But keep in mind this option has its own share of risks. For example, you may claim a horse only to discover after the race the horse has a significant physical ailment that may require extended time off, surgery or retirement. Most horses in claiming races are inferior to top class stakes and allowance horses and will likely continue to compete at the claiming level. Also remember to consider racehorse retirement options for your recently claimed horse, especially a colt or gelding.
3) Private sale
Many horses are available to purchase privately. The question is at what price. As a new owner in the thoroughbred industry, choose your advisor(s) carefully when making a private purchase. There are many reputable bloodstock agents in the thoroughbred industry that can advise you in this area. Many trainers can also advise you regarding a private purchase. The prudent new thoroughbred owner will ask for references from any advisor(s) and contact those references before making a private purchase.
4) Invest in a managed syndicate
Many Thoroughbred owners get into the game by investing in one of the managed racing syndicates. These syndicates specialize in bringing new owners into the business. Joining a Thoroughbred horse racing partnership is one of the most affordable, smart and fun ways for new owners to enjoy all the aspects of becoming involved in an entirely new world for a fraction of the cost. By spreading out the costs of owning a piece of one or more race horses and relying on experienced industry professionals to select and manage their horses, people with none or limited experience can increase their knowledge and improve their chances for a successful experience.
If the notion of owning a smaller part of one or many Thoroughbreds appeals to you, click on racing syndicates to begin researching some of the public racing syndicates available.
There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each approach. Regardless of the approach taken, the team, whether it is you and your trainer or you and a group of advisors must work together, utilizing each member's skills in devising a strategy for acquiring your equine assets.