Own A Piece Of The Action

What to Look for


When buying a car you might drive it to your mechanic so that he can tell you what’s right or wrong with it. An expert opinion is important in buying Standardbred horsepower, too. We can connect you with a mentor in your area who can help you evaluate a potential purchase and choose a trainer.

Since you can spend between several hundred and several hundred thousand dollars when buying a horse, the expertise of your trainer and a veterinarian will be invaluable. In evaluating whether a horse is worth the asking price, or how high you should bid at auction, they will look at two important factors: pedigree and conformation.

The “Look Of A Winner”

No animal, however, is judged on breeding alone. Conformation—how a horse is physically “put together”—is equally important. Experienced buyers look for many things: wide-set eyes are said to indicate intelligence; a wide jaw, long and massive neck, and powerful chest mean good lung capacity; straight legs and feet suggest a good stride, which lessens the possibility of injury and lameness.

Excellent breeding or conformation—alone or together—still does not ensure success. Individuals who know about them are as much seers as they are scientists. Paying careful attention to these things, along with the wise counsel of your trainer and veterinarian, however, can maximize the possibility of getting a return back on your equine investment.

A Fair Price?

How do you know if the price, whether determined by the bidding at an auction, a claiming price, or the price quoted for a private sale is right? If you were buying a car you’d look at a copy of the Blue Book, but there is no such thing for Standardbred horses.
Again, the expertise of the trainer or mentor will be invaluable. They can evaluate a quoted price in light of market forces and other criteria.

Trotters or Pacers?

Trotters constitute only about one in four Standardbreds. They are beautiful to watch and sometimes race for higher purses than pacers because there are fewer of them. But they have challenges. They may take more time and patience to develop, and may be more prone to gallop in a race, known as going “off-stride.”

Pacers are more prevalent in harness racing, so it might be easier to find one that is successful at a lesser price. Since they race with the aid of hobbles, they are less likely to break stride. With a higher population of pacers the competition for them can be much tougher.

Interested in learning more? Send an e-mail to owners@ustrotting.com to start your racehorse ownership journey today.