Selling a Stallion

I’ve had many sales over the last year or two in order to cover taxes, and I’m finally pushing myself to really purge the herd in terms of broodmares and those handful of racehorses who, yes, might turn out to be winners as time goes on but stop pretending each one is a gold mine you’ll regret selling (you always want to think that weanling, yearling, racehorse will be the next best thing or that broodmare who has given you 5 semi-duds in a row is just WAITING to have the next Spock, All Jazzed Up, Foolhardy, ect., which is fairly unlikely). So I’ve been forcing myself to consign more and more horses into a purge next month because I know when I didn’t have to worry about taxes, I had more fun. While a change in training tactics has yielded better results this year, I really don’t need all the kids that I own.

So I come to the actual subject of this post and that is selling a stallion. I want to pick people’s brains concerning the following:

  • When did you know, personally, it was time to let a stallion go?
  • Best time of year to try selling a stallion?
  • How do you determine a ball-park figure for a stallion?

I have considered on multiple occasions to just lease him next year, but I’d want to book mares first and I don’t think I want to wait after taxes to do so. If I could, selling him with the promise between the new owner and I that I can book even just 3 mares to him for free would be great. Basically, for sentimental reasons I’d like to keep breeding to him but I want my bank account to look healthier and owning 2 unproven studs vs. bank balance – and a big addiction to the breeding season, lol – does not quite mesh. I’m not drowning in debt after taxes, but it’s in the negative and I don’t need as many non-racing kids as I own…they’re just shiny and hard to say no to!

It’s sort of like owning a broodmare you would sell in an instant if they weren’t in foal to x-stud and you wonder if it’s worth keeping said mare purely for the foal when you could honestly breed a mare you plan on keeping to said stud next year.

/Slight brain-thought dump. And I know the market is fairly bad right now, so stud values – unless you’re one of the big proven wigs – are low.

I’ve tended to sell colts before they become stallions :wink:, but if I were to sell a stud, I’d consider:

When I’m not excited about sending mares to him myself. Studs aren’t very good money-makers (if you do Breeders’ Cup nominations, Live Foal Guarantees, etc), so I want to be excited about babies from a stud I’m standing.

I’d say January/February - breeding season is coming up/exciting, taxes are done for the last year.

I’d probably shoot for 10-20x the stud fee. That should be earnable by the stud within a year if he’s popular, and then any future years are profitable for the owner. That depends on the stud, obviously - if he’s just retired from the track and is unproven, he may be priced accordingly.

I hear you on the hoarding, though - I still need to cull more! Good luck. :slight_smile:

You may also consider the select auction if there aren’t too many stallions listed, as people tend to be looser with their purse strings then (from my observation).  The biggest factors I would consider before buying another stallion, personally, is what kind of babies he tends to throw (if he’s got them) and what he was capable of on the track. For example, I tend to steer clear of hurdlers & late maturers (since I have a larger proportion of mares throwing MSWs at 4 and want more at 2 & 3, personally). As Shanthi said - I have to really believe in the guy (because - having the funds but trying not to over-expand my breeding herd has unfortunately forced me to try to talk myself out of big purchases like a stallion).

Personally, I’ve been in your boat. I forced myself to cull a bunch each spring - even mares I thought could do something big, so long as I had 2-3 of their foals on the ground. Yes, sadly - several went on to be MSWers, so those mamas went on to become gold or platinum rated…but at least I still got to keep the MSW babies for the next generation. I also tried to sell racers in their prime, while their value is still good, rather than wait for that allowance level boy (who will probably never be stud qualified) to start dropping in performance (and drastically in value).

Turnaround IS possible…and having a smaller herd makes it easier to earn those funds back through better race management. Good luck!

I would lease the stud out if you can, atleast until his first crop hits the track :slight_smile:

Thanks for your input, everyone! Still on the fence regarding selling, but he’ll definitely be leased next year.

Ultimately ended up selling, and he went for MUCH higher than I had anticipated, which was great! Good luck to Littlefield who purchased him. No regrets over selling him, and I have several of his foals either on the ground or in utero.

I think Shanthi’s comment over being excited about sending mares to him was the best piece of advice. While I did lease him to stud status then eventually purchased him, I wasn’t as excited to send mares to him as my other stud. I think I’ll use the same advise for several broodmares. I LOVE breeding and matching mares to studs and seeing what pops out, but I can definitely lower the mare herd a little more and I’m often more interested in breeding x-mares than y-mares. I should probably keep the x’s and sell the y’s.