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The Economics of Horse Racing

California Chrome already winning big with stud fees May 19 2014


Chrome has won purses totaling $2.3 million from the Derby and the Preakness. And if the horse also wins at Belmont on June 7, his owners will collect most of that $900,000 prize.  But purse money is just a part of the upside in horse racing. There is even more money to be made in breeding a thoroughbred.

"Once you've won two-thirds of the Triple Crown, you're cemented into exceptional stud fee range," said Evan Hammonds, executive editor of BloodHorse, a leading publication for the thoroughbred horse industry.

Hammonds estimates that California Chrome will likely get $25,000 for every foal he fathers, and that he can likely father 100 to 120 foals a year. So Chrome's owners should pocket about $1.5 million a year for the first few years he is put out to stud.

After that, California Chrome's stud fees will be determined by how well his offspring do in their own racing careers. If he fathers a line of winners, he'll continue to command top-dollar fees, Hammonds said.

But even if their record is less impressive, California Chrome's owners should be able to keep collecting five-figure stud fees for another 10 years or so.

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I did not realize that breeding was a key way to monetize champion horses.

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