The biggest difference between a colt and a filly falls beneath one thing: its tail. A colt is a male horse under the age of four years old, while a filly is a female horse under the age of five. However, beyond the obvious differences in plumbing, colts and fillies have other differences that you need to consider when you buy your first racehorse. Read more to learn whether you should buy a colt or a filly.
Why you should buy a colt
Why do you want to buy a racehorse? If you have Derby dreams and, let’s be honest, every one of us does, you may prefer to buy a colt. Kentucky Derby winners are overwhelmingly colts. In fact, only three fillies have ever won the Kentucky Derby (Regret, Genuine Risk, and Winning Colors). Furthermore, no filly has ever won the Triple Crown.
After racing, colts (and their owners) can also earn you a hefty return on stud fees. Consider Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. In just his first two months standing stud, American Pharoah bred with 100 mares to the tune of $200,000 each. For math challenged horsemen, this means he’s earned over $20 million in two months. For comparison’s sake, American Pharoah earned $8.65 million in his (albeit short) racing career.
So the choice is easy, right? Buy a colt and you can win all the high profile races and bank even more money in stud fees. Well, hold your horses! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Winning a major graded stakes race is no small feat, and only 12 horses have ever won the Triple Crown. But you can still rely on stud fees, right?
Sadly for colts everywhere, not every strapping young thoroughbred earns the privilege to stand stud. In fact, less than 3,000 thoroughbreds stand stud each year in the United States, and these are typically only the most elite horses of the bunch. Furthermore, several race horses are castrated during their racing careers. Once they get the ol’ snippity-do-da, they are called geldings. While geldings still race and provide a lot of excitement on the track, they obviously have zero value in the breeding game.
Why you should buy a filly
Fillies can also run in plenty of high profile races. While the Triple Crown races are mostly ran by colts, these events are not restricted to colts. In fact, talented fillies can and do race in the Triple Crown and Breeders Cup races. Several other high profile races are restricted to fillies and offer tremendous excitement with large payouts.
The Kentucky Oaks, open to three-year-old fillies, runs every year on the Friday before The Kentucky Derby. Kentucky Oaks day is a major event in Kentucky and is a holiday in several school districts. While perhaps the most famous, Kentucky Oaks is not the only high profile filly race.
The Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing is a series of three horse races restricted to three-year-old fillies. Although the Triple Tiara is not as famous as the Triple Crown, these Grade I stakes races still offer huge payouts to the winners.
Fillies also have potential to earn money breeding. Recall how only the elite colts will ever stand stud. Fillies, on the other hand, have a much higher likelihood of making owners wealthy through breeding. While only a couple thousand horses stand stud in the United States, tens of thousands of broodmares are bred every year. As a result, even moderately successful mares are frequently bred, and their offspring can fetch serious coin at auction. If a mare produces multiple successful racehorses, her breeding stock becomes more valuable, even if she, herself, wasn’t born to run.
The bottom line: You should buy either a colt or a filly that fits your individual goals
Why do you want to buy a racehorse? If your biggest goal is fame and fortune that comes with winning the Triple Crown, you are a fool, but buy a colt as he will give you the best chance to be the longshot that proves me wrong. We all have Derby dreams, but you are setting yourself up for disappointment if your primary goal is to get rich and famous.
Also, if you want to buy a racehorse to get rich from breeding, you might want to re-examine your reasons for wanting to buy a racehorse. In fact, you’d probably be better off working part time on a farm, learning the industry, and saving your pennies to buy a farm of your own someday.
Make sure you want to buy a racehorse for the experience. Do not get hung up on the idea of buying a colt or a filly purely based on its sex. If you want to experience the highs and lows of thoroughbred ownership, meet some great people, and learn more about horse racing, find a thoroughbred syndicate you can trust and afford, and take stock of their horses. Buy a colt or a filly that will run in your area. Do not buy a racehorse for the money. Instead buy a racehorse for the experience, and make sure to take advantage of every opportunity racehorse ownership provides.