Horses have been a part of human history for thousands of years, and the bond between humans and horses is a special one. Horses have been used for transportation, work, and competition for centuries, and their value to society has been undeniable. But some horses have been worth more than others—far more! In fact, some of the world’s most expensive horses ever sold have fetched prices that seem almost unbelievable. Read on to discover just how much these individual horses have been bought for, and to find out why they were so valuable.
Why are Racehorses so Expensive?
Racehorses are some of the most expensive animals in the world. But why? There are several reasons why racehorses are so costly. The price of a racehorse depends on a number of factors, but the most important factor is its racing career potential. Racehorses that have been successful in the past or have a good pedigree are more likely to have a successful racing career, which makes them more valuable. Additionally, the age of the horse and its physical attributes can make a difference in its price. Horses that are younger or in good physical condition are more likely to fetch a higher price. Moreover, the potential earnings a horse can make for its owners is also a factor. Horses that have a good chance of winning big races can generate substantial returns for their owners, making them more valuable.
The 7 Most Expensive Horses:
Fusaichi Pegasus - $70 million (2000)
Fusaichi Pegasus is a Thoroughbred racehorse that rose to fame in 2000. He was the winner of the 2000 Kentucky Derby, and was purchased in the same year for a record-breaking $70 million. This was the highest price ever paid for a racehorse and it propelled Fusaichi Pegasus into the limelight. He went on to win the 2000 Irish Derby and the Dubai World Cup, setting new world records and becoming one of the most successful racehorses in history. Fusaichi Pegasus was retired in 2003, and since then has gone on to sire many successful racehorses of his own.
Justify - $60 million (2018)
The 2018 sale of a thoroughbred horse named Justify for a whopping $60 million was a record-breaking event. The horse's purchase price was nearly double the previous record for a thoroughbred horse and raised plenty of eyebrows. But there is a good reason why Justify was so expensive. Justify won the Triple Crown of horse racing in 2018, making him only the 13th horse to do so in the history of the sport. This feat was even more incredible when you consider that the horse had only started racing in February of that year. In addition to his impressive racing record, Justify had great genetics. His sire was a noted speed horse, and his dam was a proven producer. So when it came time to sell Justify, his bloodline and performance history were highly sought-after by breeders so there was no shortage of people interested in the horse.
Shareef Dancer - $40 million (1983)
Shareef Dancer, the world's most expensive racehorse, was sold in 1983 for a staggering $40 million - the highest price ever paid for a racehorse at that time. He was descended from another incredible racehorse, Northern Dancer which is part of the reason for his high pricetag. The sale made headlines around the world and demonstrated the power of the international horse racing market. After its purchase, Shareef Dancer went on to become one of the most successful racehorses in the world, winning the 1985 Breeders' Cup Mile and the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. He was also the sire of many successful foals, including the 1987 Belmont Stakes winner, Bet Twice.
The Green Monkey - $16 million (2006)
The Green Monkey horse was sold for a record breaking $16 million in 2006. It was the highest price ever paid for a two-year-old racehorse. The Green Monkey was a chestnut Thoroughbred that had been bred in the United States and was trained in Ireland. He was a descendant of both Northern Dancer and Secretariat, so there were high expectations on him. It was trained to run on the flat and had an impressive track record. The Green Monkey made its debut at the 2006 Royal Ascot meeting in England but was injured in the race and did not finish. He never did live up to the hype with just $10k worth of earnings over his racing life. Sadly he was ethanised at age 14 due to severe laminitis.
Palloubet d’Halong - $15 million (2013)
Palloubet of Halong is a 15 million dollar showjumper that made headlines in 2013. Jan Tops competed in four Olympics and won the gold medal in the team jumping event in 1992. He bought Palloubet d’ Halong as a gift for his wife, Australian rider Edwina Alexander. He has excelled in show jumping competitions around the world. His biggest success to date was in 2013 when he won the Grand Prix of Rome and the Grand Prix of La Coruna in Spain. He also placed second in the Grand Prix of Aachen in Germany.
Moorland’s Totilas (Toto) – $15 million
Moorland's Totilas, more commonly known as Toto, is one of the most expensive horses in the world. The 15 million dollar dressage horse is owned by German rider Paul Schockemöhle and Dutch rider Edward Gal. Toto is a stunning black horse with a white star on his forehead and white markings on his feet. He is a KWPN stallion, which is a Dutch warmblood breed. He stands 17 hands high and is an athletic, powerful horse with an impressive presence. He is known for his striking gaits and explosive movements. He is an exceptional dressage horse, having won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for the Netherlands team. He has since become an iconic figure in the world of dressage.
Seattle Dancer – $13.1 million (1985)
Seattle Dancer the offspring of Nijinsky II, a celebrated racehorse. His pedigree was so sought-after that in 1985 during the auction of his sale the bidding for him went up to nine million dollars and even surpassed $13 million. This established a new record as the most expensive yearling to be sold. Sadly, Seattle Dancer died in June 2007 at the age of 23. Over the course of his career, Seattle Dancer competed in several races and has sired 37 stake race winners.