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Kentucky Derby Winners and Auction Prices


Fusaichi Pegasus, with an auction price of $4 million, remains the only Derby winner to sell at auction for over $1 million
Updated: 04/26/2017

While most people would pay any price to get a Kentucky Derby winner, the truth is the less you pay the better chance you have of buying a Derby winner at auction. There have only been three Kentucky Derby winners to sell at auction for $500,000 or more: Fusaichi Pegasus ($4,000,000), Winning Colors ($575,000), and Alysheba ($500,000). Despite the inflated auction prices of horses in the last 30+ years, most of the Derby winners sold since 1980 were bought for less than $50,000!

Below is a list of the Kentucky Derby winners since 1960 who sold at auction with their prices. In the cases where a horse went to auction more than once, the highest price realized is used. Also included is a list of the 31 highest priced auction purchases who ran in the Kentucky Derby and where they finished.

              Derby Winner Auction Prices

 2016  Nyquist               $400,000
 2015  American Pharoah      $300,000
 2012  Iíll Have Another      $35,000
 2011  Animal Kingdom        $100,000
 2009  Mine That Bird          $9,500
 2008  Big Brown             $190,000
 2003  Funny Cide             $22,000
 2002  War Emblem             $20,000
 2001  Monarchos             $170,000
 2000  Fusaichi Pegasus    $4,000,000
 1998  Real Quiet             $17,000
 1997  Silver Charm          $100,000
 1994  Go for Gin            $150,000
 1992  Lil E. Tee             $25,000
 1990  Unbridled              $70,000
 1989  Sunday Silence         $32,000
 1988  Winning Colors        $575,000
 1987  Alysheba              $500,000
 1980  Genuine Risk           $32,000
 1979  Spectacular Bid        $37,000
 1977  Seattle Slew           $17,500
 1976  Bold Forbes            $15,200
 1975  Foolish Pleasure       $20,000
 1971  Canonero II             $1,200
 1970  Dust Commander          $6,500
 1969  Majestic Prince       $250,000
 1966  Kauai King             $42,000
 1960  Venetian Way           $10,500
                         Top Auction Price Derby Runners

 2000  Fusaichi Pegasus    $4,000,000 - 1st
 2009  Dunkirk             $3,700,000 - 11th
 1989  Houston             $2,900,000 - 8th
 2009  Desert Party        $2,100,000 - 14th
 2001  Talk Is Money       $1,800,000 - 17th
 2015  Carpe Diem          $1,600,000 - 10th
 2007  Cowtown Cat         $1,500,000 - 20th
 2000  Exchange Rate       $1,400,000 - 12th
 2004  Lion Heart          $1,400,000 - 2nd
 1996  Unbridledís Song    $1,400,000 - 5th
 2006  A.P. Warrior        $1,300,000 - 18th
 2001  Millennium Wind     $1,200,000 - 11th
 2005  Noble Causeway      $1,150,000 - 14th
 2007  Any Given Saturday  $1,100,000 - 8th
 2000  High Yield          $1,050,000 - 15th
 1983  Chumming            $1,000,000 - 12th
 2001  Songandaprayer      $1,000,000 - 13th
 1987  Capote                $800,000 - DNF 
 2006  Point Determined      $750,000 - 9th
 2006  Jazil                 $725,000 - DH for 4th
 2007  Zanjero               $700,000 - 12th
 2009  Flying Private        $700,000 - 19th
 2009  Regal Ransom          $675,000 - 8th
 2016  Mor Spirit            $650,000 - 10th
 1985  Tankís Prospect       $625,000 - 7th
 2004  Tapit                 $625,000 - 9th
 1992  Thyer                 $600,000 - 13th
 2005  Going Wild            $600,000 - 18th
 1988  Winning Colors        $575,000 - 1st
 1999  Desert Hero           $575,000 - 13th
 2000  Commendable           $575,000 - 17th
As you can see, a high price at auction doesn't guarantee a good finish much less a win in the Kentucky Derby, but TWO Triple Crown winners were bought for low prices at auction. $1 million or more horses have fared particularly badly, with only one win (Fusaich Pegasus) and one second (Lion Heart) from 17 horses.

So let's apply this to 2017's top Kentucky Derby contenders. Here are the top 20 Derby contenders by points earned as of April 10 with their auction prices.


Gunnevera could be the Cinderella horse for this year, selling for only $15,000 as a yearling at Keeneland.

     Girvin                  $130,000 
     Gormley                ($150,000) RNA
     Irap                    $300,000
     Irish War Cry                n/a
     Thunder Snow                 n/a
     Always Dreaming         $350,000
     Gunnevera                $15,000
     Practical Joke          $240,000
     J Boys Echo             $485,000
     State of Honor               n/a
     Tapwrit               $1,200,000
     Malagacy                $190,000
     Hence                       n/a
     Fast and Accurate        $85,000
     McCraken                     n/a
     Battle of Midway        $410,000
     Patch                        n/a
     Battalion Runner        $700,000
     Cloud Computing         $200,000
     Untrapped               $150,000
     Lookin at Lee            $70,000
     Sonneteer                    n/a
     Royal Mo                $300,000
     Local Hero              $500,000
     Iliad                   $285,000

Horses with n/a have never been through an auction and Gormley was an RNA (reserve not achieved) so did not sell when he went to auction but had a high bid of $150,000. As you can see, Tapwrit and Battalion Runner sold at high enough prices to pretty much be a toss as a possible Derby winner.

Triple Crown quick links:

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