Buying Your First Horse

October 13, 2019

Trainer JJ Graci takes us through buying your first horse.

Let’s answer the question of buying your first horse. This is a major purchase so think with your head not your heart. You have to ask yourself, do I want to buy a young horse? Meaning a foal, yearling or an un-started two year old. Each has its own rewards and pit falls. 

If you are looking for instant gratification forget the young horse route. There are plenty of avenues to buy, claim, or get into a partnership. 

I’ll address each of them.

There are plenty of horses available depending on how much you want to spend. Don’t expect to catch lightning in a bottle… not saying it won’t happen. Generally, when horses are for sale, they pretty much have established their value. If you like a certain horse do your due diligence. Get your trainer to look at the horse and get him vetted . Meaning, let a veterinarian go over the horse for soundness and breathing. Listen to what they have to say and decide if you want to purchase the horse. Remember, you are most likely paying a premium price which is fair. 

When it comes to claiming…that’s a horse of a different color, no pun intended. You pretty much know what the horse is worth by what races he/she has been running in.  It’s way more risky getting a horse that way. Things can go wrong in the race from which you claimed the horse. The horse can already have issues you are inheriting. They go hand and hand, it’s just the way it is. That’s where your trainer comes in. Hopefully he can figure out his or her problems. 

If you want a safer way to get a horse, buy into a partnership. You pretty much know what you’re getting. There, you own a share along with others . You have nothing to say… you put up your money and take the ride. Probably the safest way to see if you really like the horse business for small money. 

Finally if you want to go the young horse route, it can be far more rewarding. You can hopefully develop a young horse; however, it’s a lot more expensive. There are no guarantees or warranties with horses. The expression “What you see is what you get” can change overnight. 

“Horses are like strawberries.. They can go bad overnight”  Charlie Whittingham

Just remember and it’s important…think with your head, not your heart! Hope that helps you some. Good luck and I’ll see you at the races! 

Contributing Authors

JJ Graci

JJ was born in Philadelphia, Pa.  and attended Villanova University. He has vast experience in horse racing and broadcasting. JJ has been a fixture in...

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@jonathanstettin in the @PastTheWire seminar you told us a horse "Obviously" needed a cutback, and would be an "obvious" winner. Great Call!

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