Day Rates

Closing day scenes from around the track on Hopeful Stakes day on September 5, 2016 at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)

Closing day scenes from around the track on Hopeful Stakes day on September 5, 2016 at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)

It is impossible to come up with exact figures for the cost of keeping a horse in training due to location, clout of trainer, material prices, etc. It is safe to assume that it can cost upward of $40,000 per horse per year to keep a horse in training. The trainer’s day rate and veterinary expenses make up the majority of that cost. A day rate can vary between $40 to $150 per day, per horse.

We have estimated a $75 day rate to help visualize where that fee is going. Keep in mind that your day rate likely does not include vet, farrier, transportation, licensing, medication, or miscellaneous equipment for your horse. Your individual contract with your trainer will greatly affect your day rate. Your day rate can likely be negotiated but it will always be a major expense.

Let’s assume $75 per horse per day with no included miscellaneous expenses. Please remember that these are rough estimates and do not reflect the actual cost.

Exercise rider- $20
Groom- $20
Hotwalker- $8
Straw/bedding- $6
Hay- $7
Grain- $6
Equipment- $3
Total- $70/day

The remaining $5 could go to workman’s compensation, assistant trainer salary, unemployment, or to hiring an additional freelance hand for a short amount of time.

Other expenses not included in your day fee could include:
– Veterinary
– Blacksmith
– Vanning bills to other racetracks for your horse
– Race day expenses- rundown bandages, a runner, Lasix injection, etc
– Owner licensing for the state your horse is running in
– Lay up or rest on the farm for your horse
– Feed supplements outside of the trainer’s usual program
– Percentage of earnings paid to trainer