IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Maximum-Likelihood Estimates Of Racehorse Earnings And Profitability


  • Vinzant, Patrick L.
  • Neibergs, J. Shannon


Thoroughbred racehorses are commonly characterized as unprofitable investments. Previous studies, grouping all racehorses together, estimate that over 80% of all racehorses in training fail to earn enough to recover the variable costs of training. However, these studies are not truly representative, because they fail to account for a number of factors affecting profitability. This study estimates expected purse earnings and profitability of claiming horses in Kentucky. Maximum-likelihood estimates of probability distribution parameters show that expected purse earnings follow an exponential distribution with a mean of $25,267. Profitability is best described by a Gamma distribution with a mean of $4,824. Of the 305 claims analyzed for profitability, 61% were profitable. The results indicate substantial financial risk associated with claiming race horses, but conclude that there are positive economic returns on average.

Suggested Citation

  • Vinzant, Patrick L. & Neibergs, J. Shannon, 1999. "Maximum-Likelihood Estimates Of Racehorse Earnings And Profitability," Journal of Agribusiness, Agricultural Economics Association of Georgia, vol. 17(1).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:jloagb:14682

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Neibergs, J. Shannon & Thalheimer, Richard, 1997. "Price Expectations And Supply Response In The Thoroughbred Yearling Market," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 29(02), December.
    2. Neibergs, J. Shannon & Thalheimer, Richard, 1997. "Price Expectations and Supply Response in the Thoroughbred Yearling Market," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(02), pages 419-435, December.
    3. John Freebairn & Bill Griffiths, 2006. "Introduction," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(s1), pages 1-1, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:jloagb:14682. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.