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Should I Buy a Colt or a Filly with a Thoroughbred Partnership?

November 25, 2014 · By Erin Birkenhauer · Share

We often hear this question from prospective owners trying to understand the best way to spread risk and diversify their equine portfolios.

If you ask people what their ultimate dream is as horse owners, many will probably tell you it’s winning the Kentucky Derby. The reality is, very few fillies run in the Kentucky Derby, and very, very few have ever won the Kentucky Derby. If you’re set on the chasing the Derby dream, stick with buying colts.

On the other hand, if you are looking for residual value at the end of a racing career, colts are a riskier proposition than fillies if they don’t end up as upper echelon racehorses. If a colt needs to be gelded during their racing career (and many of them need to be), their residual value is minimal. There’s also a very select market for stallion prospects, so even if they don’t get the "snip snip", they have to be really, really well bred and pretty darn special on the racetrack to have significant residual value.


However, if you’re lucky enough to own a well-bred, high performing colt, it could mean a stallion deal worth big bucks as the top stallions in the world are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Two former WPT colts have joined mainstream breeding operations, graded stakes winners Flashy Bull and Freedom Child. Multiple grade one winner Macho Again was sold to a South American breeding operation.

Owning a filly poses less risk for investors because they are more likely to have residual value as broodmares if they performed decently on the racetrack. Races for fillies and mares often don’t carry as much prestige as races for the boys, but a winning mare with some pedigree often has more value than her male counterpart with a similar race record.

Several former WPT race fillies were sold as broodmare prospects at the conclusion of their racing careers. West Point Partners realized the benefit of owning graded stakes winning fillies when Dream Rush and Lear’s Princess sold for $3.3 and $2.7 million respectively at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale in 2007.

Consider this, there were over 25,000 foals born in 2010 -- that means at least 25,000 mares bred. Currently, the Blood Horse stallion register contains about 2,700 studs, and only a very small percentage of those horses stand at mainstream farms. There are less than 20 stallions who entered stud in North America who stood for $10,000 or more in 2014.

The bottom line is if you buy a racehorse, you should pretty much think about racing. If you’re buying for breeding value before they even start breathing hard in a workout, you’re more than likely going to be disappointed. A good horse can change your life and take you around the world, and it doesn’t matter if it is a filly, a colt, or a gelding.  

We welcome your thoughts on this post. Do you have any questions?

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