OTTB shopping - older maiden?

I’ve been thinking about calling about a horse listed through CANTER, and noticed he’s run something like 30 times and never won. He looks like he was an expensive 2 year old, imported from Europe, then maybe didn’t race until he was 4, then gradually dropped down over a few years. I could understand hoping he’d eventually get there. Is there anything I should be worried or asking about here? I have no upper level plans but am hoping for long term soundness.

Thank you!

IMO, if he raced 30 times, I’d say he was long term sound. I would vet him not expecting to see something immediate but something that might need some long term care at some point.

Most of our US raced horses never start that often. I assume he’s a gelding.


There’s really no knowing. Any OTTB is a gamble and even vetting really doesn’t tell you much.
I had a heavily raced OTTB with bad windpuffs , a permanently puffed up hock, and bone chips stay dead sound well into his 20s (in the home I sold him to).
I’ve also had lightly raced ones with clean tight legs and clean x-rays be reliably unsound and cost a fortune.
…… and literally everything in between……

If you REALLY want long term soundness , buy a pony or pony cross.

The big red flags to look for in their racing record is consistently placing well and then a sudden change to lagging behind, and long breaks during racing season.
Other than that it’s literally a gamble.


In some larger strings, the consistent types are kept in a string even if they are not competitive, because the trainer gets a better rate with a larger block of stalls.

I wouldn’t call what you described suspicious - it could be he was kept for any number of reasons: stall rate discount, he could have been the sentimental campaigner of his connections, he could have shown promise in workouts but fizzled in company, etc. If he cost the connections a lot of money and they were not necessarily a huge outfit, they could have held onto him a bit longer because they were hoping that talent was there.

With 30 starts expect natural wear and tear associated with the track. Like WheresMyWhite said, you’ll likely find some wear (remodeling) that requires maintenance versus immediate attention. Horses who are fundamentally unsound would never make it to that number of starts so your baseline soundness is good. What his future soundness looks like depends on if he obtained any injuries during racing that handicap his body going forward.

The national average (US) of starts is something like 6 starts, but 15-30 starts is not uncommon and you will find tons of these horses at the cusp of their career’s culmination in “lower” end tracks.

A slightly divergent topic, because this comes up often on COTH and other boards about Thoroughbreds: Don’t let the designation tied to their name fool you - that is where they were born, not how they were bred. Many horses we see with (IRE) or (GB) or even (AUS) are almost entirely NA bred on paper. Resellers will say things like “Irish TB” or “European TB” because their horse has (IRE) or (GB) as their designation and they think this correlates to its inherent quality – but then you look at their pedigree and they’re by Street Cry out of a Storm Cat mare. Lol.

There is not a significant difference in the quality of TB in US versus overseas. The more important difference is the type of tracks. US is almost entirely dirt tracks. GB and IRE are turf. GB’s leading sires like Sadlers Wells and Galileo are North American (US / CAN) on paper despite where they were born; they are all part of the same gene pool with the exception of several GER horses, whose lines have gone totally extinct in dirt racing with the exception of a resurgence of horses like Surumu and Lombard (Allegretta, Galileo’s dam) who have started to trickle back into US bred horses through stallions like Animal Kingdom and Galileo. Australia has a whole dynasty spinoff of horses from Danehill (Northern Dancer), but even their leading sires are almost entirely commercially NA on paper – like Danehill, Snitzel, and Street Cry. The best TB stallions in the world come out of US dirt breeding - AP Indy, Storm Cat, Sadlers Wells to name a few.


This is such a pet peeve of mine!


Here is my “European” bred mare. While she does sport some very well-known US names, there are lines that we don’t see a lot of in the US. I am hoping the turf and distance breeding will bring soundness.
Dama De Noche Horse Pedigree (

Thanks everyone! I decided to vet him but he sold before the vetting. This is still all useful since I’m still casually keeping an eye out and trying to learn as much as I can.

I mentioned that he was imported mostly because it seemed odd to me that someone would go through that trouble and expense (he was a $300k 2 year old) and then not race him until he was 4. But might also be why later owners kept hoping he’d eventually win something. I’ve also heard of imported sport horses having trouble adapting.

A high price as a two year old is about being a good “physical”, having a attractive pedigree with winners close up, coming from a breeder with a good reputation and being well prepared and handled for the sale. However, a high price doesn’t mean the animal can run fast.

Since you aren’t buying him, could you share his name and breeding, just for fun? It would be interesting to see if he does carry alot of US blood, or is actually European breeding. Thanks!

He seems to be a good example of that!

I hope this link works:
Name is Azzedine

Oooh by Dansili out of a Peintre Celebre mare? Nice.