Keeneland presents American Graded Stakes Standings: What a Bargain!
Finding a North American graded stakes winner doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Look no further than this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, who sold for just $11,000 as a yearling and $35,000 at age two. But he’s far from the only example.
Of the 98 individual horses that have won graded stakes races this year and who went through at least one commercial sale, 14% of them sold for less than $10,000 as a yearling or weanling. A third of them sold for under $30,000 at one point.
Trinniberg, who competed in this year’s Derby and won last weekend’s Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes at Belmont Park, sold as a yearling for just $1,500.
“He was a beautiful horse, but he toed out pretty bad,” said David McKathan, the Florida-based pinhooker who bought Trinniberg at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton October Sale in Kentucky.
“But he was everything you’d want in a horse and when we breezed him in April, he breezed lights out,” said McKathan. “I still had a hard time selling him.”
McKathan, who runs M & H Training & Sales, sold Trinniberg to current owner Shivananda Parbhoo at the 2011 OBS April sale for $21,000.
“There’s a helluva market out there if you’re willing to take a horse that don’t move all that pretty on the video and doesn’t walk perfect but is still a horse that can really run.”
Trinniberg isn’t even the lowest-priced winner of a 2012 graded stakes race. All Squared Away, who won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, sold for $1,000 as a yearling at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale.
This is not to suggest that four figures is likely to land an owner in the graded stakes winner’s circle. The average price of this year’s winners who went through the sales at least once was $117,773. The median price was $70,000. Prices range from $1,000 to $1.2 million, the sum paid for Doubledogdare Stakes winner Pachattack at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton November Sale. She was five years old at the time.
Of the 29 horses that have captured at least one Grade 1 this year, 16 of them went through the sales ring, fetching an average price of $160,341, including four RNAs. The prices range from the $1,244 paid for Gamely winner Belle Royale in Britain to $390,000, the auction prices for Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags and Las Virgenes victor Eden’s Moon.
Among horses that have scored at the Grade 2 level but no higher, 41 of 64 were sold at auction for an average price of $103,602 in their most recent sale, including RNAs. The top price in that group belongs to Drill at $300,000 with the low being Bourbon Bay at $1,700.
Of the horses that have won only at the Grade 3 level, 42 of 77 individual winners went through a commercial sale, bringing an average of $166,943. The average was boosted by the aforementioned Pachattack at $1.2 million, with the lowest price being All Squared Away at $1,000.
There are many different price points in the market, and the Thoroughbred racing industry is filled with stories of high-priced busts and bargains that later defy the market’s assessment of their potential. For David McKathan, who purchased Trinniberg for $1,500, it all boils down to one thing.
“I bought him because I liked him. I thought he was a nice horse.”