Despite Jay-Z Splurging Over $55,000,000 to Buy His Kentucky Derby Winning Racehorse, Its Owner Was Left Saddened Once

Published 03/26/2023, 9:35 PM EDT

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Equestrian sports have seen many multi-million deals in buying and selling horses. However, a famous deal made in 2014 witnessed a rare sight. Famous rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z made headlines when he purchased racehorse California Chrome for a staggering $55 million. The horse had just won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes and was being hailed as a potential Triple Crown winner. While Jay-Z was thrilled with his new acquisition, the former owner, Steve Coburn, was left feeling sad and disappointed.

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The famous deal of the Kentucky Derby winner grabbed global limelight and is still a major topic of discussion

The dilemma for the owner behind the deal

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Coburn had bred and raised California Chrome from birth. The horse had been a labor of love for him, and he had invested countless hours and dollars into his training and development.  The owner was never fond of selling horses, however, the situation demanded otherwise. After California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, the offers began to pour in again. Jay-Z’s team, along with a group of other investors, made a bid of $55 million, which Coburn ultimately accepted. 

In a 2014 interview with Empire Sports News, Coburn expressed his sadness at the thought of parting ways with California Chrome. The former owner said, “I hated to sell the animal, but it is hard to say no to a double nickel in millions. And it is the best thing for horse racing.”

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Despite his sadness, Coburn wished California Chrome and his new owners all the best, and the horse went on to have a successful racing career. He won several more races, including the Dubai World Cup, and became one of the most successful racehorses of all time. However, this wasn’t the first time anyone paid a massive amount to buy these horses. 

Most expensive horse in the history of Equestrian sport

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The current record holder for the most valuable racehorse in the sport’s history is Fusaichi Pegasus. Neil Drysdale, one of the best riders, had trained the horse since its birth in 1997. Together, the pair earned a stunning $1, 994,400 and won the Kentucky Derby in 2000. 

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After his legendary Derby victory, the stallion was acquired for a price of $70 million by the largest breeding powerhouse Coolmore Ireland. Such expensive deals involve deep emotional connections and serve as a reminder that there is much more to the horse racing industry than just the thrill of victory and the lure of money. 

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Written by:

Shivam Sharma

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Shivam Sharma is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, he has previously worked as a writer and an anchor for Navbharat Today, penning down and explaining issues around sports, politics, and international relations. He is an admirer of Virat Kohli for the passion that he brings to the field.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh

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