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Derby Field Has Bargain Horses
CNBC.com | May 04, 2012 | 01:17 PM EDT

At the 2010 Keeneland Yearling Sale, bargain hunter Bob Zollars had his eye #1475.

Unable to spend big for a horse by a top sire, Zollars followed the family history of the horse’s mother, Follow Your Bliss, whose was fathered by Thunder Gulch, best known for his win in the 1995 Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes.

At an auction where the average horse sold for $65,000, Zollars got Daddy Nose Best for $35,000.

"I thought he’d be very questionable whether I could afford him or not, but apparently he just got passed over by other people and they liked other horses a little bit better than him," Zollars said.

Horse ownership is a rich man's game, but that doesn't mean Derby winners all cost a fortune.

That's because horses, like in any sport, slip through the cracks.

The chances that horse purchased will make the Derby is about 1 in 500, considering this year's field of 14 horses that were purchased and six that were home bred.

Of the 12 horses whose last sale price is known the average price spent for a Derby horse is $183,000.

Zollars' Daddy Nose best is the second cheapest in the field, tied with I'll Have Another ($35K) and surpassed by Trinniberg, which sold for $21,000.

Walt Robertson, who auctioned off the horse, already named Daddy Knows Best, says the horse’s sire that no one paid attention to became the star.

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