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Thoroughbred valuation

Thoroughbred valuation is the art of determining the value or potential value of a Thoroughbred horse, particularly of race horses.

Prices on Thoroughbreds vary greatly, depending on age, pedigree, conformation, and other market factors.[1] In 2007, Keeneland Sales, a United States based sales company, sold 9,124 horses at auction, with a total value of $814,401,000, which gives an average price of $89,259.[2] As a whole for the United States in 2007, The Jockey Club auction statistics indicate that the average weanling sold for $44,407, the average yearling sold for $55,300, average sale price for two-year-olds was $61,843, broodmares averaged $70,150, and horses over two and broodmare prospects sold for an average of $53,243.[3] For Europe, the July 2007 Tattersall's Sale sold 593 horses at auction, with a total for the sale of 10,951,300 guineas,[4] for an average of 18,468 guineas.[5] Doncaster Bloodstock Sales, another British sales firm, in 2007 sold 2,248 horses for a total value of 43,033,881 guineas, making an average of 15,110 guineas per horse.[6]

Averages, however, can be deceiving. For example, at the 2007 Fall Yearling sale at Keeneland, 3,799 young horses sold for a total of $385,018,600, for an average of $101,347 per horse.[2] However, that average sales price reflected a variation that included at least 19 horses that sold for only $1,000 each and 34 that sold for over $1,000,000 apiece.[7]

The value of a Thoroughbred may be influenced by the purse money it wins. In 2007, Thoroughbred racehorses earned a total of $1,217,854,602 in all placings, an average earnings per starter of $16,924.[8] In addition, the track record of a race horse may influence its future value as a breeding animal. Stud fees for stallions that enter breeding can range from $2,500 to $300,000 per mare in the United States,[9] and from ₤2000 pounds[10] to £75,000 pounds or more in Britain.[11]

Between 1974 and 1988, yearlings sired by Northern Dancer led the Keeneland July Selected Yearling Sale by average price 12 times. In the 1983 Keeneland Sales horse auction, one of Northern Dancer's colts, eventually named Snaafi Dancer, became the first yearling to sell for $10 million at auction. In 1984 12 yearlings by Northern Dancer sold for a sale-record average price of $3,446.666.[12] In the 1980s, Northern Dancer's stud fee reached $1 million, an amount four to five times other staillions and a record that still stands in 2009.[13]

The highest price paid at auction for a Thoroughbred was set in 2006 at $16,000,000 for a two-year-old colt named The Green Monkey,[14] who was a descendant of Northern Dancer. Record prices at auction often grab headlines, though they do not necessarily reflect the animal's future success; in the case of The Green Monkey, injuries limited him to only three career starts before being retired to stud in 2008, and he never won a race.[14]

Ten most expensive Thoroughbred colts in history sold at auction






Sold - US$


1) The Green Monkey[15] 2004 Forestry Magical Masquerade Padua Stables 2006 - $16,000,000 Susan Magnier, Derrick Smith & Michael Tabor
2) Seattle Dancer[16] 1984 Nijinsky My Charmer W. L. Jones, W. S. Farish III, W. S. Kilroy 1985 - $13,100,000 Niarchos, J. Magnier, Sangster, O'Brien, Schwartz
3) Meydan City[17] 2005 Kingmambo Crown of Crimson Jayeff B Stable 2006 - $11,700,000 Sheikh Mohammed
4) Snaafi Dancer[18] 1982 Northern Dancer My Bupers Donald T. Johnson 1983 - $10,200,000 Aston Upthorpe Stud
5) Jalil[19] 2004 Storm Cat Tranquility Lake Pamela & Martin Wygod 2005 - $9,700,000 Godolphin Racing
6) Plavius[20] 2005 Danzig Sharp Minister Monticule Farms 2006 - $9,200,000 Godolphin Racing
7) Imperial Falcon[21] 1983 Northern Dancer Ballade E. P. Taylor 1984 - $8,250,000 Robert Sangster
8) Mr. Sekiguchi[22] 2003 Storm Cat Welcome Surprise William S. Farish III, William S. Kilroy 2004 - $8,000,000 Fusao Sekiguchi
9) Jareer[23] 1983 Northern Dancer Fabuleux Jane Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. 1984 - $7,100,000 Darley Stud
10) Laa Etaab[24] 1984 Nijinsky Crimson Saint Tom Gentry 1985 - $7,000,000 Gainsborough Stud


  1. Commer, Malcolm. "Price Factors and Sales Trends" (pdf). Maryland Cooperative Extension. University of Maryland. http://extension.umd.edu/publications/PDFs/FS665.pdf. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Keeneland Sales. "Yearly Sales Recap". Keeneland Sales Website. Keeneland Sales. http://ww2.keeneland.com/sales/lists/copy/recap.aspx. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  3. The Jockey Club. "2007 Auction Statistics". The Jockey Club Factbook. The Jockey Club. http://www.jockeyclub.com/factbook.asp?section=13. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  4. Traditionally, the obsolete guinea, £1.05, formerly 21 shillings, is retained as the unit of account for these sales.
  5. Tattersalls. "Tattersall's (Select Sales & Results, then July)". Tattersall's Website. Tattersall's. http://www.tattersalls.com/. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  6. Doncaster Bloodstock Sales. "Sales Statistics". Doncaster Bloodstock Sales Website. Doncaster Bloodstock Sales. http://www.dbsauctions.com/news/SalesStatistics.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  7. Keeneland Sales. "Keeneland September 2007 Yearling Sale Results". Keeneland Sales Website. Keeneland Sales. http://ww2.keeneland.com/sales/lists/sale/results.aspx?SaleId=200802. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  8. The Jockey Club. "2007 Racing Statistics". The Jockey Club Factbook. The Jockey Club. http://www.jockeyclub.com/factbook.asp?section=9. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  9. Blood-horse Magazine. "2008 Leading Sires". Blood-horse Website. Blood-horse. http://breeding.bloodhorse.com/sirelists/national08/leading_sire.asp. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  10. Weatherby's. "Stud Advertisement for Desideratum". Weatherby's Online Stallion Book. Weatherby's. http://www.oracle.racingadmin.co.uk/pls/production/osts201. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  11. Weatherby's. "Stud Advertisement for Dansili". Weatherby's Online Stallion Book. Weatherby's. http://www.oracle.racingadmin.co.uk/pls/production/osts201. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  12. Staff. "Keeneland November to feature Windfields Farm, Overbrook dispersals". Bloodstock Journal. Bloodstock Research Information Services. http://www.brisnet.com/cgi-bin/editorial/journal/article.cgi?id=16863. Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  13. Thomas, Robert (November 17, 1990). "Northern Dancer, One of Racing's Great Sires, Is Dead". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/11/17/sports/horse-racing-northern-dancer-one-of-racing-s-great-sires-is-dead.html. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Biles, Deirdre (February 13, 2008). "The Green Monkey Retired". Bloodhorse.com. http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/43609/the-green-monkey-retired. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  15. Biles, Deirdre (February 13, 2008). "The Green Monkey Retired". Bloodhorse.com. http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/43609/the-green-monkey-retired. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  16. Lowe, Jeff (July 13, 2007). "Record yearling Seattle Dancer dies at 23". Thoroughbred Times. http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/sales-news/2007/July/13/Record-yearling-Seattle-Dancer-dies-at-23.aspx. Retrieved December 19. 2009. 
  17. Dan Liebman (September 12, 2006). "$11.7M Kingmambo colt sets Sept. record". NTRA - Bloodhorse.com. http://www.ntra.com/content.aspx?type=news&id=20101. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  18. Staff (July 20, 2007). "Colt Auctioned for $10.2 million". Philadelphia Inquirer. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=PI&s_site=philly&p_multi=PI&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB295D02D3D2CFD&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  19. McGarth, J. A. (October 13, 2006). "Big day for $9.7m colt Jalil". Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/horseracing/2347902/Big-day-for-9.7m-colt-Jalil.html. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  20. Staff of Breeders' Cup.com (undated). "Monticule Farm". Breeders' Cup.com. http://www.breederscup.com/bio.aspx?id=10162. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  21. Associated Press Staff (July 24, 1984). "Keeneland Sales Shatter Records". Ocala Star-Banner. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=El0xAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SAYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=4603,4262079&dq=northern+dancer-ballade+colt&hl=en. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  22. USA Today staff (September 14, 2004). "Horse sells for $8 million at Keeneland". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/horses/2004-09-14-keeneland-8million_x.htm. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  23. Ocala Star-Banner staff (July 25, 1984). "Northern Dancer's Offspring Top Sales". Ocala Star-Banner. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1356&dat=19840725&id=LasTAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SAYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=5782,5299640. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  24. Glenye Cain (May 14, 2001). "Crimson Saint dies at age 32". ESPN Horse Racing. http://a.espncdn.com/horse/news/2001/0514/1197352.html. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 


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