The Rail Blog: A decidedly more blue-collar group of horses is taking home the cash

by | 11.04.2011 | 7:16am

Writing for the New York Times The Rail blog, Gina Rarick points out that million-dollar horses tend to make headlines when passing through the sales ring. However, these days it is a decidedly more “blue-collar” group that is taking home the cash from the winner's circle.

Consider Danedream, this year's stunning winner of the prestigious l'Arc de Triomphe, who was purchased as a yearling for 9,000 euros (about $12,500) and whose earnings now top two million euros.


Or the winner of Tuesday's Melbourne Cup – a cheap, French-bred horse called Dunaden, bought for just 1,500 euros as a foal, claimed for 17,000 euros, and later sold privately to Qatari interests. Dunaden has no black type in his pedigree and his sire, Nicobar, stands in France for 500 euros.

Much of the same will be evident at this weekend's Breeders' Cup World Championship. Most of this year's European contenders never passed through a sales ring, but Strong Suit, who will challenge Goldikova in the Mile, sold for $27,000 as a foal at Keeneland, then as a yearling at Doncaster, England for 40,000 pounds – and has now earned more than 300,000 pounds.

There are many old sayings in the horse business; one is “Origins don't lie.” But there is also another: “There's nothing like a horse to make you a liar,” writes Rarick.

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