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Dave Astar estimated it costs a minimum of $22,856 to breed a foal in Minnesota and raise it through its first year. That escalates to $39,967 by the time the horse is 2 years old, and $54,575 by the time it's 3. Here's a breakdown of the basic costs of those first three years:

Stallion fee: Varies from about $1,000 to as much as $300,000 for Tapit, the most expensive sire in the country. Astar's analysis assumes a fee of $1,500, typical for a Minnesota stallion. Minnesota breeders who choose Kentucky stallions generally pay $4,000 to $15,000 more.

Boarding the mare: Breeders who do not own their own farms can pay about $12,170 to feed and house the mare from the time she is bred until her baby is weaned. Once the foal is weaned at about five months of age, it will cost about $6,936 to board it until it is ready to be sold. Costs will be lower for breeders who own and run their own farms.

Veterinary and foal delivery fees: Varies widely, depending upon the health of the mare and foal and any complications with the delivery. Basic care costs $500 for the mare and $300 for the foal.

Transportation: $450.

Preparing the yearling for the sale and its hoof care: $500 for each.

Keeping the yearling and training it to run as a 2-year-old: Boarding and training will cost $15,036, plus $1,250 for veterinary care, $375 for shoeing and $450 for shipping.

If the horse is not ready to race until age 3: Add another $12,508 for training and boarding, $1,150 for veterinary care, $500 for shoeing and $450 for shipping.

Notes: 40 percent of breedings will not produce a foal that is able to stand and nurse, resulting in the loss of all costs associated with the mare. Five to 10 percent of foals will die before they turn a year old, and 25 percent will never race.