TOBA: Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
Owner Education

Costs: Racehorses in Training

How much does it cost to keep a racehorse in training? The easy answer is, "It depends." It depends on where you race, who your trainer is, the vet and farrier you use and the soundness of your horse. Costs are set by what the market will bear and everything (except taxes, jockey fees and worker's compensation premiums) is negotiable.

The trainer's day rate is the major expense. Day rates can be as little as $25 at a small track to as much as $120+ at a major track. It all depends on the locale and the trainer's "win percentage."

Not included in the trainer's day rate are veterinary and farrier fees. Veterinary fees vary as much as day rates and are dependent upon your trainer's habits and the health of your horse. For routine veterinary care, the cost can be as low as less than $100 per month to as much as 50% or more of your monthly training bill. It all depends.

Given the variability of veterinary costs, it is important for you to have a discussion with your trainer where you learn their philosophy concerning the extent to which a vet is going to be used. Also, do your homework so you will be able to understand, as much as possible, the purpose of each treatment and ask intelligent questions of your trainer and veterinarian.

While at the track, you should expect your horse to be re-shod every month. "Regular" shoeing includes hoof trimming and costs about $80 to $120 per horse. Again, this cost depends on the locale and the farrier's expertise. "Special" shoes such as bar shoes and mud calks will cost more, as will patches to repair quarter cracks (cracks in the hoof).




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