CHEAP HORSES AND EXPENSIVE HORSES. Was Carry Back more of a bargain than California Chrome? Calirornia Chrome cost, including stud fee, $10,500. Carry Back cost $700, including stud fee, in 1961 dollars. How much does that translate into in today’s dollars? This website indicates that a 1961 dollar is now worth $7.82, which can be rounded to $8 for convenience. So Carry Back cost about $5600 in today’s dollars.
Discussions of the Kentucky Derby place a great deal of importance on pedigree and on whether a horse has been bred to go a relatively long distance. This wikipedia entry on the Dosage Index gives an idea of the kind of detail that handicappers can place on a horse’s ancestors.) Many Derby entrants have been purchased for high prices at auction, based in part on their lineage When I started looking up Carry Back, I was surprised to find that Carry Back and California Chrome are not the only exceptions to the belief that Derby winners are very expensive. This article by Cindy Pierson Dulay on About.com lists Dust Commander (1970), Canonenero II (1971), and Mine That Bird (2009) as Derby winners who had been sold at auction for prices less than $10,000. The article also gives an idea of why I think of Derby winners as being very expensive. The article lists 36 horses which had sold at auction for over $500,000. Only three of them won the Derby.