For Derby hopefuls, owning horse like owning team

Thu May 5, 2016 8:08pm EDT
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By Lindsey Buhrmann

(Reuters) - For many racehorse owners, it's the experience, more so than making money, that attracted them to the Sport of Kings but they face a tough task to get into the elite field for events like the Kentucky Derby.

On Saturday, the top 3-year-old thoroughbred racehorses will enter the starting gate at Churchill Downs for the running of the 142nd Kentucky Derby.

But getting there isn't easy, with over 22,000 thoroughbred foals registered with The Jockey Club each year, and only 20 of the best getting a chance to Run for the Roses.

Cinderella stories such as 2014 Kentucky Derby Winner California Chrome, who cost his connections about $10,000 and has since earned more than $12.5 million, highlight that with horses, initial cost doesn't always equate to financial results.

"I don't think that the majority of people get into racing to make money," said Aly Strainer, director of marketing and membership at the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, adding that racing gives many people the ability to "own their own sports team."

"It's the experience, more so than making money."

While well-bred horses with ideal confirmation and exceptional pedigrees may be sold for more than $1 million, others can be purchased for less than $1,000.

To get in the game, some owners form partnerships, where several people share the costs of a single horse.   Continued...

November 1, 2014; Santa Anita , CA, USA; Victor Espinoza aboard California Chrome sprints to the finish in race twelve during the 2014 Breeders Cup Championships at Santa Anita Park. California Chrome would finish second Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports