World’s Most Expensive Race Horses

Last Updated on March 29, 2022

Thrilling, exciting, and high-risk – Most Expensive Race Horses. If you’re a horse racing fan you’ll understand why this equestrian sport is loved by millions! Racehorses are amongst the most valuable horses in the world, and exchange hands for crazy amounts of money. But who are the world’s most expensive racehorses?

Thoroughbreds are undoubtedly the kings and queens of the horse racing world, and a top-class racehorse can attract a phenomenal price tag. Let’s take a look at why these horses are so expensive and how much a winning racehorse costs.

Why Is A Purebred Horse Price Higher?

Purebred horses, such as Thoroughbreds, tend to be much more expensive than crossbred horses. This is because they are selectively bred to enhance certain desirable characteristics. This can include appearance, temperament, or in the case of Thoroughbreds, physical stamina and speed.

Why Is A Purebred Horse Price Higher

What Factors Affect Racing Horse Price?

Many factors affect racing horse price, but the biggest ones are normally their pedigree and their form – how many races they have won. The pedigree is important as this looks at how much money their parents won while racing. It also takes into account other offspring of the same parents, to predict the likelihood of a horse winning a race.

The price can also vary according to the age and gender of a racehorse. Young horses which have not raced yet may be cheaper unless they have a very good pedigree. Entire male horses – stallions – can attract a huge price tag, as they can earn a lot of money at stud when retired from racing.

Top 8 Most Expensive Race Horses Revealed

So, let’s take a look at the 8 most expensive racehorses! You’ll be amazed at the prices that some of these horses have been sold for, but there is normally a good reason for it:

8: Jalil – $9.7 million

Jalil was just a yearling and had never raced when he was purchased for nearly $10 million. His high price tag was due to his pedigree – he was sired by Storm Cat, and the grandson of Northern Dancer.

Unfortunately, the gamble didn’t pay off, and Jalil was not a highly successful racehorse. He was retired to stand at stud but also failed to achieve notoriety here.

7: Snaafi Dancer – $10.2 million

The son of Northern Dancer, Snaafi Dancer was the first yearling to sell for over $10 million. Despite his impressive pedigree, he never raced – rumors say that he was ‘embarrassingly slow’!

Snaafi Dancer was then retired to stud but was found to have very low fertility rates. He sired just four foals, of which three went on to race at a low level.

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most expensive race horses

6: Meydan City – $11.7 million

Meydan City is the first on the list to live up to his price tag! With a nice pedigree, he was snapped up as a yearling for $11.7 million. He came third in his first race and won his second race. He was also fairly successful as a stud – a nice return for a gamble on a yearling!

5: Seattle Dancer – $13.1 million – Most Expensive Race Horses

In 1985 Seattle Dancer became the most expensive yearling ever sold at public auction. Intense bidding between top owners and trainers pushed his price up to $13.1 million!

There is a good reason for this price – Seattle Dancer was sired by Nijinsky, the son of Northern Dancer. He raced five times, with two wins, before being retired to stud. Seattle Dancer was a highly successful stud, siring over 37 stakes winners.

4: The Green Monkey – $16.0 million

Another descendant of Northern Dancer, unfortunately, The Green Monkey did not live up to his expensive price. Sold as a two-year-old for $16 million, he never won a race and was not a big hit when retired to stud. His best progency was the 2015 Panama Triple Crown winner, Monkey Business

3: Shareef Dancer – $40.0 million

Now we’re into our top three, the prices really start to increase! Up to now, the top price tags have been yearlings or colts. Shareef Dancer was sold for $3.3 million as a yearling and quickly went on to achieve success in Group 1 races. He only raced five times but won nearly $200000 during his short career.

In 1983, Shareef Dancer was sold for $40.0 million – at the time a record price for a stallion prospect. His stud career was not spectacular, although he did sire some winners.

Shareef Dancer – $40.0 million

2: So You Think – $51.5 million

The second most expensive racehorse in the world is So You Think, a five-time Group 1 winner. This New Zealand-bred horse won two of the biggest races in Australia, plus the Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot. This was his final race, before being retired to stud.

Now, it is difficult to find when and how this impressive price was achieved, as it was a private transaction. But the owners of So You Think now stand him at stud with a fee of  $77,000 – so he is certainly earning his keep!

So You Think is one of the most successful racehorse sires of all time, with his progeny regularly attracting a high price at auction.

Read more about Black Stallion Horse Facts – The Dream Horse

Who Is The Most Expensive Racehorse?

1: Fusaichi Pegasus – $60 million

Former Kentucky Derby Winner, Fusaichi Pegasus is by far the most expensive racehorse, sold in 2000 for $60 million. He was highly valuable due to his sensational track record, with earnings of almost $2 million.

His stud career was not as outstanding as his racing career. He sired over 75 stakes winners and three Grade 1 stakes winners. However, his offspring was a disappointment considering his price, and his stud fee was lowered considerably before he retired from stud.

Most Expensive Race Horses Summary

So, as we’ve learned, some racehorses can be very expensive! However, they don’t always live up to the price paid, and buying a racehorse can be a big gamble. Pedigree plays a huge part in the price of a racehorse, with the offspring of famous sires sold for huge fees when they are just a yearling.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the most expensive racehorses! Perhaps your OTTB has a famous racehorse in their pedigree? Please add your comments below!

Is it cruel to race horses?

Racing is a dangerous sport, and many horses are injured during races and training. Muscle, bone, tendon and ligament injuries are the most common injuries. The risk of injury is higher for older horses and in racehorses with previous injuries. The severity of an injury can be determined by the horse’s response to treatment, the duration of the injury, and the horse’s ability to return to racing. 
Serious injuries, including fractures and ruptured ligaments and tendons that cannot be treated, and which cause severe pain or distress, often result in immediate euthanasia to ensure that the animal doesn’t suffer unnecessary pain.

How much is a good race horse?

Racehorses are very expensive investments. Just purchasing one will cost you about $75,000, though some sell for over a million dollars, and others can be purchased for just a few thousand. Anyway, no matter how much you paid for your racehorse initially, you can expect to spend a few thousands more every month just for upkeep and training.
The value of a racehorse strongly depends on its pedigree and conformation. The average price of a racehorse is about $75,000, as mentioned before. However, the average price for a two-year-old thoroughbred in training is already higher, about $94,247, while the average cost for a thoroughbred yearling is $84,722.

How much is an Akhal Teke horse?

The Akhal-Teke Horse, which are one of the rarest and most expensive breeds in the world, have been around for over 3000 years. The cost of a horse will typically vary between $5,000 and $35,000. Several factors, including its color, size, training, health, and age, will impact the exact price of an individual horse.
The Akhal-Teke is one of the rarest breeds in the world, with an estimated population of less than 5,000. Akhal-Tekes are excellent for endurance riding, dressage, and jumping. Racing is one of the oldest traditions of this breed and Akhal-Tekes still compete in flat racing in Turkmenistan and parts of Russia.

Is owning race horses profitable?

Racehorse ownership has long been characterized as a high-risk, unprofitable investment. However, the results of a recent study indicate that there are substantial financial risks associated with racehorse ownership, but conclude that there are positive economic returns overall. 
Horse owners can make money selling racehorses to breeders, selling offspring, and collecting horse breeders awards. Many racehorses retire after their racing careers are over and are then used to breed potential new racing winners. A successful racehorse is an expensive investment but it can make a lot of money with racing and sometimes even more as a stud.

Who is the richest jockey?

Japan’s Yutaka Take is the top-earning jockey in the world, with career winnings of US$796.1 million. He is the living legend of the sport in his native country, and has followed in the footsteps of his father, Kunihiko, who was also a successful jockey.
The Japanese are famous for their love of horse racing, with Japan being the home of the largest racing industry in the world. Their Racing Association President and CEO was listed in 2020 as the highest paid in the sport. The strength of the racing industry in Japan is often cited as an example of the Japanese propensity to gamble. If they’re going to bet, they’re going to go all the way!