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And You Thought a Dozen Roses Were Expensive?

It takes mad cash to get your mare knocked up by a quality Thoroughbred racing stallion. Check out the pricetags on these stud fees.

All photos courtesy of the Bloodhorse Stallion Register.

From Heather Benson:

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air for human kind. In the world of horses, at least racehorses, this week represents another kind of match-making–the traditional start of the breeding season on February 15. And it costs a whole lot more than a box of chocolates to gain the favors of potential lover in the Thoroughbred world. These stud fees, while much lower than the heady levels seen in the early 2000s, are still high enough to make the average horse person’s head spin.

The “Cheap Box of Chocolates” Stallions:

In any other world, spending $25,000 to find your mare a mate would seem like a ludicrous sum. In the racing world, however, $25,000 is considered a “bargain stallion.” But of course, we need to consider that the “bargain baby” might just bring home first in the $3 million Breeder’s Cup Classic, so it’s all relative. Let’s take a look at a few names from this price point:

Curlin-Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008 and a "bargain" at $25,000.

Curlin: Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008 and a “bargain” at $25,000.

Curlin

2004 Chestnut Thoroughbred Stallion

Fee: $25,000 at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky

Memorable Accomplishments: Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008

Best Progeny: Palace Malice, winner of the 2013 Belmont Stakes

Macho Uno-sire of last year's Breeder's Cup Classic hero, Mucho Macho Man.

Macho Uno: Sire of last year’s Breeder’s Cup Classic hero, Mucho Macho Man.

Macho Uno

1998 Grey Thoroughbred Stallion

Fee: $25,000 at Adena Springs Farm in Kentucky

Memorable Accomplishments: Champion 2-year-Old Colt in 2000

Best Progeny: Mucho Macho Man-Winner of the 2013 Breeder’s Cup Classic

TheĀ  “I Bought an Over-Priced Dozen Roses on My Way Home” Stallions:

Sometimes (well maybe all the time), the Thoroughbred breeding industry just doesn’t make sense. For example, you can breed to the aforementioned Macho Uno, the sire of many stakes winners at the very highest level for $25,000, OR you can breed to a newly retired stallion with no idea of what they might ever produce for $30,000. Kind of like the difference between your significant other buying you new tack for V-Day (a proven way to make you happy) or handing over the $99 roses in the hope that you find them amazing. But with love, hope springs eternal and so I guess we never know if one of these guys might just be the next sire of Secretariat. Who will look brilliant then?

Bodemeister-Always second, but what a pretty face.

Bodemeister–Always second, but what a pretty face.

Bodemeister

2009 Bay Thoroughbred Stallion

Fee: $30,000 at WinStar Farm in Kentucky

Memorable Accomplishments: The hardest “trying” horse in 2012, second in the Derby and the Preakness

Best Progeny: Progeny, what progeny? You’re buying a hope and a prayer here, and those are priceless, right?

Union Rags-2012 Belmont Stakes winner

Union Rags–2012 Belmont Stakes winner.

Union Rags

2009 Bay Thoroughbred Stallion

Fee: $35,000 at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky

Memorable Accomplishments: 2012 Belmont Stakes winner

The “Nice Dinner at the Steakhouse” Stallions:

These are the stallions that are very nice and much loved by the commercial market (i.e. people like to buy their babies after you pay that big fee). Maybe not as flashy as the big, big names below but enough to make you feel pretty special if you get one. And like that expensive steak, if it costs $50,000, it has to be good, right?

Ghostzapper

Ghostzapper–2004 Horse of the Year.

Ghostzapper

2000 Bay Thoroughbred Stallion

Fee: $50,000 at Adena Springs Farm in Kentucky

Memorable Accomplishments: 2004 Horse of the Year

Best Progeny: Millionaire Za Approval, who has chased Horse of the Year Wise Dan all over the country

More than Ready-A globe-trotting stud for all seasons!

More than Ready–A globe-trotting stud for all seasons!

More than Ready

1997 Dark Bay or Brown Thoroughbred Stallion

Fee: $50,000 at WinStar Farm in Kentucky

Memorable Accomplishments: Top 2-year-old in 1999 and Grade I winner as a 3-year-old in 2000

Best Progeny: As a dual-hemisphere stallion (meaning he travels to Australia to stand down there July-December), he has made big waves worldwide. But many people here will best recall his handsome son, Verrazano, a top 3-year-old in the United States in 2013.

The “Diamond Ring and a Tiara” Stallions:

These are the golden boys of the racing world. Their babies have proven themselves in the auction ring and on the track, time and again. You just know if you drop the dollars on the big price tag, you will be getting your honey just what she wanted, no questions asked.

Malibu Moon-from bargain basement to the highest of highs.

Malibu Moon–From bargain basement to the highest of highs.

Malibu Moon

1997 Bay Thoroughbred Stallion

Fee: $95,000 at Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky

Memorable Accomplishments: Not much on the track (he only ran twice with one win), but he has made his presence felt off the track. At one time you could have bred to him for a mere $3,000. Obviously, he had come up in the world since then!

Best Progeny: He has had many, but as of 2013 he will be best known as the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Orb.

Tapit-Top dollar in the breeding shed for 2014.

Tapit–Top dollar in the breeding shed for 2014.

Tapit

2001 Grey Thoroughbred Stallion

Fee: $150,000 at Gainesway Farm in Kentucky

Memorable Accomplishments: Like Malibu Moon, he wasn’t necessarily a world-beater on the track but he has more than made it up in the breeding shed. He now shares top-priced sire honors with War Front at Claiborne Farm.

Best Progeny: He has had so many, but the author is partial to his Champion 2-Year-Old filly of 2008, Stardom Bound.

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