Whenever you couple sports and big business there tends to be a lot of misinformation and muddled talk flying around. The latest incidence happens to be with the wide range of figures surrounding California Chrome’s stud fee.
On one hand, there are the horse’s owners and trainer. Bombastic owner Steve Coburn (a Wilford Brimley doppelgänger if there ever was one), claims he and his Dumbass Partners (DAP) were offered $6 million for 51% stake in Chrome prior to the Kentucky Derby. Meanwhile, trainer Art Sherman claims the horse is worth $30 million after having won the Preakness Stakes.
On the other hand, there are veterans in the industry who feel DAP are severely over-inflating Chrome’s value – mainly due to the horse’s lack of a championship bloodline. Per Bloomberg News:
“The top value on this horse is $15 million if he wins the Belmont and closer to $8 million if he doesn’t,” said Peter Bradley, founder of Bradley Thoroughbreds LLC in Lexington, Kentucky.
Pedigree consultant Bill Oppenheim puts California Chrome’s valuation at around $10 million.
“To me, $10 million right now, if the wheels came off tomorrow,” Oppenheim said about California Chrome’s value, estimating a stud fee of $20,000 to $25,000. “If he wins the Triple Crown, I think the figure doubles.”
Another thoroughbred expert, Doug Cauthen, believes that Chrome’s pedigree could be offset by his popularity – his brand, if you will. Should he be seen as “America’s Horse,” Chrome’s value could far outweigh his stud fee.
Doug Cauthen, who runs Doug Cauthen Thoroughbred Management LLC in Lexington, said California Chrome can get anywhere from a $20,000 to $50,000 stud fee if he takes the Belmont.
“I’d be in the 20-30 range, probably, but I’ve had plenty of people think more,” said Cauthen, whose brother Steve rode Affirmed to the Triple Crown 36 years ago. “His value as a racehorse, as America’s horse, could be more than his stud value.”
As with most business deals, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. Once the Belmont Stakes shuffles through and Chrome’s stake in history has been sorted, the sliding scale’s margins will narrow considerably. Whatever the take, it’ll be one heck of a return on Steve Coburn and Perry Martin’s initial $8,000 investment.